It's no secret that business branding is key for not only recognition, but controling audience perception. For individuals, however, building a personal brand is essential in furthering your career.
Why do I need a personal brand?
Your personal brand is your public story – ensuring it conveys the correct message is crucial for professional success. It needs to embody qualities that you want your peers to link to you. This could be hard-skills, such as being a marketing superstar, or personality traits like tenacity or empathy. A personal brand is a great way to control public perception of yourself, and to drive the narrative to showcase not only your proficiencies, but your mantra or way of life. Having your own brand showcases your point of difference as you want it presented. If you don't control your narrative, others will – it's important your personal brand is authentic and synonymous with your goals.
In order to craft your personal brand, you need to first isolate what sets you apart from others. Identifying your niche helps to lay the foundations of which your story will be built on. However, it's beneficial to not only look at your strengths, but your weaknesses too. Identifying your weaknesses can help you recognise your faults and areas you need to work on, or that may not be best to portray as your expert subject.
Factors to analyse include:
- What others think are your strengths.
- Motivations in both your personal and professional life.
- Weaknesses or areas to improve in your work.
Looking to the future helps in building your personal brand. Think about where you'd like your career to take you. By forecasting where you want to be in ten years time, you can consider different factors to focus on within your brand that can help move you closer to your goals.
Expand your networking
In the working world, they say it's not all about what you know, rather about who you know. Many people make the mistake of focusing efforts to those in their immediate circle, or those solely within their department or professional discipline. Step into the unfamiliar. Meeting people outside your usual interest can open doors for opportunities otherwise missed. Make yourself known – without being too pushy or bragging, offer your services or spark an idea of a collaboration with outside groups. You need to make sure these people are relevant to your skill sets, however. Defining your audience can help in recognising skills or professions that can benefit from your expertise, and weed out the ones that are irrelevant.
Getting your name out there is half the battle – making sure people are aware of your proficiencies with justification is key. Fortunately the world of social media – particularly LinkedIn – offer digital networking opportunities and the chance to converge all of your achievements and skills into one easy-to-read profile. LinkedIn is a great place for inspiration and thought leadership too. Often, industry figureheads will post interesting blogs and advice for their network – use this information to your advantage and as part of your research for creating your personal brand.
Across a range of industries, especially in the field of communications, employees are expected to adapt their skills to a rapidly changing digital landscape. This adaptability should apply to your personal brand, too. Think about it – you're not the same person you were five years ago, so why should your personal brand remain stagnant. Giving yourself flexibility to evolve your personal brand reduces the risk of being pigeon-holed into certain roles. While it's good to have an area of expertise, it can be limiting when it comes to opportunities outside of your comfort zone. If your personal brand is getting a little stale, saying yes to new experiences can help in redefining your professional reputation.
At Salt & Shein we have a network of the best talent across corporate affairs and marketing, and are determined to help you find the best candidate to take your professional team to the next level. For more information on our executive search and selection services, get in touch with our team.