How to Discover Your Personal Brand and Tweak if for Career Advancement
It is seldom discussed on how to define your personal branding and what the process is. Firstly, in order to discover your personal brand you need to understand who you are, what motivates you, and what elements are important in your career. Your personal brand is a reflection of whom you already are, and not a creation of whom you want to be. In other words, you discover and not create your personal brand. Personal branding should convey your talents, values, current skills, personal style or personality.
The specific qualities you possess articulates a personal brand and sets you apart from others and competitors. Define what is unusual and unique about you by answering these questions:
- What is your core essence?
- What type of person are you like to work with?
- How would people describe their experience working with you and what would they most remember about you?
For decades, we have all been talking about personal branding which year ago was a relatively obscure concept until recently in spite of the essential insights being more or less the same. Personal branding means:
- Being your own corporate brand
- Can and should be entirely owned by you
- This is an on-going process that continually evolves
- It defines how you live and engage in your personal life and professionally
Discovering your personal brand will take time, and of which is a well worth investment. Once you have defined your brand and align it with who you are, then only will your life both personal and professional become valued, happy and fulfilling. Remember the best investment in your life is you, and there is no time like the present to invest in yourself.
If you want to advance in your career, one of the essential tools is defining and utilizing your personal brand. Personal branding is creating a personal statement of who you are and what you can offer and do for your audience. This sets you apart from your competitors and allows you to express your uniqueness which in turn will emotionally connect your target audience that will want to work alongside you.
Here are some simple steps to help you how to discover your personal branding:
- Self-Assessment – the key element to personal branding in knowing exactly who you are. Analyse the various aspects of who are you, what motivates you, your behaviour and what you want to achieve. For instance, look at what type of personality you are and your values and interests, your skills and experiences of which are both noteworthy and memorable. When defining these critical elements, you need to be completely honest with yourself.
- Define your Unique Qualities – look at yourself as a whole, your preferences, hobbies and interests and define what qualities are unique. For example, what do your favourite songs, movies and books say about you? What would your friends and others learn by knowing your taste in sports, food or music? What do your favourite interests say about you? How does what you do define your uniqueness and set you apart from your peers in your field of expertise or profession.
- Real-Time Feedback – the way we see and assess ourselves is not always the way other people see us. The best way to find out how other people assess you is to get feedback from a selection of people such as close friends, family members, previous employers, teachers and fellow students, people that have worked alongside you and co-workers. Ask these people to asses you using words and phrases, describing your strengths and weaknesses and ask them if they can identify you with a fictional, historical or famous character.
- Identify Commonalities – analyse all the assessments you received from your friends and colleagues and see if there is any particular ideas, words or images that are similar with your own assessment. When reading the feedback see if there are any themes or words that accurately describe you and any similarities between the feedback and your own assessment. Take the theme and words you have extracted, and see which ones align with your experiences.
- Focus on Your Key Elements – come up with 5 top brand elements and try and rank them. Use the following steps to help you put these elements into perspective:
- Define your value and what you are best at. Define your target audience and selling proposition. What is your belief, purpose or cause that inspires you?
- What audience are you targeting and why do you think you are the best person to satisfy their needs. Write a list of these qualities and create a profile that exemplifies the qualities of the audience.
- Rank the list of qualities in an order that is most important to you.
- Define why you are uniquely in a position to satisfy this specific audience’s needs.
- Develop Your Personal Brand Statement – once you have completed all of the above steps you are now ready to attempt defining a personal brand statement that says who you are, how you do it, and critically important, why you do what you do. This statement is what delivers a message to your targeted audience and is a consistent piece that most people will agree on.
Once you have created good imagery, words or emotions that will help people visualize your brand, you are well on your way to success. One of the most powerful expressions is words which are a powerful beacon for you and others when personalizing a brand. Just know who you are and what you want and then make a positive impact with your legacy, promise and brand. In order to connect deeply with your targeted audience, commit to your brand on an emotional level.
Your personal brand must depict your creativity, inspiration and passion to curiously engaged audiences in order to create a memorable experience and in turn they will share it with their friends, family and other communities. Congratulations! You have now defined your personal brand that crystalizes the essence of who you are and it is clear to your target audience why they need you. With social media platforms, you have the ability to manage your own personal brand and reputation, both in real life and online.
Once your personal brand is well established, spend time mastering the basic tactics and how to tweak it for career advancement, where you allow your actions to speak. This will showcase what sets you apart from competitors as well as describes the added value you bring making you look more attractive to employers and other prospective audiences. Another important question, is your appearance current? Yes, this is important, and if it does not then take a look at the 10 tips to make a first great impression that will help you shift your minds set and establish a professional image. Bear in mind, if you do not brand yourself, others will brand you.
You may presently be secure and happy in your current position; however, you never know when things can turn around. Here are some valuable tips using your personal brand and how to tweak it for career advancement and prepare for possible future changes:
- The first step is to start thinking and talking differently about yourself and your future. No matter your age, do not use this as an excuse not to get the career opportunity you want. Focus on the wealth of experience you have already gained and your past accomplishments which are the foundations of your career brand in comparison to other people.
- You need to focus and plan on what you want your career brand stands for and then devise a strategy in order to gain additional experience by taking on new challenging assignments that will not only build your brand but cover any weaknesses.
- A minimum amount of education is necessary for most careers, and to excel you may need to complete additional education, training, or certifications. Your career brand can be greatly enhanced by furthering your education. Ask for advice from a mentor that has already branded themselves well and is highly respected in their field.
- If you have an amazing brand you need to promote yourself. If no one knows about your brand, you are not going to have any success with your career development. A good place to start is listing all your key accomplishments, education and skills on your Resume, which is the oldest tool used for promoting career brands.
- Your brand needs to have a very strong presence both on and off the line. Include all important information in your resume such as a list of detailed accomplishments, honours and awards, mission statement, samples of work, speech transcripts, working papers and more, which will afford you a strong on and off-line presence.
- Establish yourself as an expert in the field that will increase your career brand credibility. Play up your recognition and awards as that will verify your expertise. Construct a website or blog and publish your articles on there.
- Last but not least, one of the most powerful tools of promoting your career brand is building a strong network community online and word-of-mouth. Once you have identified the above info, remember to continue protecting and strengthening your career brand as there will always be competing brands ready to fill any gaps you may leave behind.
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.
Author bio: Adam Saleh has worked in a broad range of marketing and communication roles and developed a solid understanding of personal branding principles and how to apply them in the workplace and business world. He is now developing a passion for writing so he can share his expertise with those in need.