Developing a Strong Personal Brand

Branding is essential to career advancement because branding helps define who you are, how you are great, and why you should be sought out. Branding is simply your reputation. Read more...

Branding is the combination of tangible characteristics that make a brand or individual unique. Branding is developing an image with results to match.

Branding is essential to career advancement because branding helps define who you are, how you are great, and why you should be sought out. Branding is simply your reputation. Branding is about building a name for yourself, showcasing what sets you apart from others, and describing the added value you bring to a situation.

Most job-seekers are not proactive in establishing and building their career brand, letting their actions speak for them when seeking promotions or new jobs. You need to take the time to master some very basic tactics that can help build your career brand and make you a much more attractive employee or job-seeker? Remember, if you don’t brand yourself, others will for you. And while you may be happy and secure in your job now, you really never know when that will change.

Here are ways to help you build your Personal Brand:

Gain Experience/Track Accomplishments

Building your brand begins with tracking your past accomplishment and gaining strategically important new experiences. Your accomplishments are the foundation of your career brand and your brand story. But before you seek out new work, take the time to plan and focus on what you want your brand to stand for and develop a strategy for gaining experience in areas of your brand in which you are weak. You can use volunteering to gain experience and if you are a student, seek out multiple internships opportunities.

Who are you question

Complete Education/Training

For many careers, a minimum amount of education is necessary, but to excel in your career you may need to complete additional education, training, or certifications. Getting additional education can greatly enhance your career brand. It may be hard in terms of time and finances, but find a way to do it. Some employers even offer an educational reimbursement benefit. Self-learning is another option.

Promote Yourself

You can have an amazing brand, but if no one knows about it, you are not going to have much success with your career development. And no one more than you has more reasons to promote your brand. Throw modesty out the window? There is a fine line between bragging and promoting, and you need to learn it but it’s always better to err on the side of promoting your brand than not.

One of the oldest tools of promotion for job-seekers is the resume, and you certainly need to start there by listing all your key accomplishments, skills, and education on your resume. You may even have your positioning statement (qualifications summary) and a branding statement on your resume… but don’t stop there.

Begin developing two career portfolios; a print one and an online one. If you need to develop a presence on LinkedIn, build your profile and try to network. Your portfolio should include all important brand artifacts: resume(s), mission statement, detailed accomplishments list, samples of work, articles and working papers, speech transcripts, awards and honors, testimonials, and more.

One interesting trend employers are doing these days is “Googling” the names of prospective job-seekers, typing each name into one or more search engines and basing initial candidate screening decisions partly on the number (and quality) of hits for each job-seeker. The lesson? Your brand needs to have a strong online presence.

And finally, don’t forget to promote your brand on the job. Workers often assume the boss knows your accomplishments, but often times she/he does not. Certainly at appraisal time, have a list of all you have achieved since your last appraisal, but also consider finding ways to let your boss know your successes throughout the year.

Become an Expert

Nothing builds credibility in a career brand more than establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Seek out conferences and meetings where you can give speeches and presentations. Consider constructing a professional website or blog where you can publish all your articles and speeches.

Build Relationships

Nothing in marketing is more powerful than a promotion tool called word-of-mouth, which can be defined as what people say about you.

Thus, nothing is more powerful in building your career brand than what your network of contacts, your friends, colleagues, customers, clients, and former bosses say about you and your set of skills, education, and accomplishments. And keeping your network strong involves nothing more than relationship building. Keep in good contact with your network and be sure they know of your most recent successes.

Search out new professional associations as well as the growing number of online networking communities.

Once you identify and build your brand, remember to continue strengthening and protecting it. There will always be competing brands (job-seekers) ready to fill any gap you leave behind. The more you do to cultivate your personal brand, the more successful you will be with your current employer and in the job-search.