If you haven’t developed your personal brand yet, what are you waiting for?!? Without a clearly defined brand you diminish your chance of standing out from other job seekers. Even if you are employed, your brand can position you as a leader in your industry and open you up to new opportunities.
So, how do you go about creating your brand? It’s good to start with some self-reflection to identify what you stand for, what your values are, how you are perceived, and the image you project. It takes time to create a brand. It’s not something that can be done overnight; you don’t wake up one morning and say, “my brand is xyz.” In order to develop an authentic brand you need to be willing to invest in the development and maintenance of your brand.
Self-assessment is a great way to delve into your brand, but it’s also helpful to ask some trusted friends and colleagues to give you some feedback. While you might think you are giving off one image you might actually be perceived differently. That’s where the peer assessment comes in handy. You can use that to assess your strengths and address your weaknesses.
Branding is all about marketing; think about some popular products and what they represent. What do you think of when you see them? What is the image they project? The advantage of having a brand is that your unique qualities are on display. This is what is going to set you apart professionally.
Think about how you can sell your own brand. Social networking is a great way to get your brand out there; with its expansive reach and availability you can project yourself quickly to a large number of people. It’s not enough though to simply have a web presence; you need to be active in the online groups and discussion. A professional blog or website can also help you establish yourself. Another way is to take part in face to face networking such as industry conferences or as a member of a professional organization.
Developing your brand takes time and effort but is well worth it. A clearly defined brand will give you a professional advantage and will help you become a trusted resource and industry leader.
by Megan Koehler