Whether you are career-oriented or business-oriented, the truth is that we are all brands. Developing a personal brand differentiates you from your competition because it changes the way you’re perceived.
A strong personal brand is the foundation for a successful career and also goes a long way in helping entrepreneurs get business. It helps to communicate a unique identity and clear value to potential employers or clients.
So, how do you go about building your personal brand? Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Figure out who you are.
In order to build a personal brand that accurately reflects your personal and professional identity, you first need to know who you are. Be introspective, and create a list of your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Feel free to ask friends, family, and co-workers how they would describe you. Once you’re more aware of the different facets of your personality, you can decide how best to brand them.
2. Determine what you want to be known for.
Your personal brand is more than a reflection of who you are today; it’s a roadmap of where you to go. In addition to understanding your existing skills and competencies, assess your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to whichever industry or career you want to break into next.
By doing this, you’ll uncover the skills and traits that make you distinct, as well as the areas where you need to improve or gain new knowledge in order to advance.
3. Research your desired industry and follow the experts.
In building a personal brand, your goal is to stand out—but you can’t rise to the top without taking inventory of who’s already there.
Find out who the thought leaders are in whatever field you’re interested in. Look for people who are successful and examine what they’re doing. Imitate them, and then do one better.
4. Prepare an elevator pitch.
As you begin to conceptualize your personal brand, spend some time crafting an elevator pitch—a 30- to 60-second story about who you are. Whether you’re attending a networking event or an informal party, having an elevator pitch prepared makes it easy to describe succinctly what you do and where you’re going (or would like to go) in your career or business.
5. Embrace networking.
As you cultivate your ideal personal brand, it’s important to network regularly (and effectively) to grow your professional circle. Connect with peers and industry thought-leaders by going to formal and informal networking events.
The more connections you make—and the more value you can provide in your interactions—the more likely it is your personal brand will be recognized.
6. Get your LinkedIn profile in order
Hiring managers, recruiters and business associates are going to look at your LinkedIn profile. The more impressive you can make it, the better you’ll stand out.
7. Be Authentic
People often hide their personality traits and display strict professionalism when developing their personal brand. Gauge and understand your industry and every situation and decide if it would be best to show your professional side or show a bit more personality.
8. Remember that your personal brand isn’t just online.
Your brand is more than just an online persona; it’s how you carry yourself at home, in the office, and even on your daily commute.
Your reputation is everything. Those who frustrate or annoy others—that will come back to haunt them. The more opportunities you have to work with others, volunteer for projects, and assert yourself as a leader, take them. That’s part of your brand.
9. Be flexible to change
As the digital ecosystem changes and your career evolves, so will your personal brand. Adjust your persona accordingly as you meet different people, find new networking opportunities, and grow in your career.
This article was originally published in North Eastern.
Anything you think we missed out on? Let us know in the comments section.