Build your personal brand

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We’re living in a hyperconnected world.

We have endless news outlets sharing stories online, social media channels, and websites that stream personal stories for the whole world to see.

The only way to manage your reputation in the current space is to own your personal brand.

Personal branding is how Oprah Winfrey has become an icon of self-improvement and achievement to people around the world. It’s also how entrepreneurs like Richard Branson have set themselves apart from the crowd with zany publicity stunts and unorthodox ideas.

Here are some things you can do to thrive in the digital era and show the world who you are.

What is a Personal Brand?

Everyone is synced continuously up to podcasts, social media, and the internet. This means that you have the potential to show more people who you are, what you stand for, and why you’re crucial to the industry.

A personal brand is a unique profile that you create to go alongside your name.

How important is personal branding for leaders?

If you’re not in control of your personal brand, then other people will decide who you are for you. That means that it’s up to you to determine if you want your reputation to take on a life of its own, or whether you’d be better off managing your own narrative.

Now that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, your personal brand can make or break your chances of a good career.

From a business leader’s perspective, personal branding is essential. People looking for a new job aren’t just searching for an opportunity to work with the right business. They also want to know that they’re going to get along with their manager too.

Many studies agree that employees are more likely to abandon poor managers than bad companies.

If you can inspire candidates with who you are and what you stand for, then you’ll be more likely to attract and retain skilled people.

How do you create a compelling brand?

Your brand can either put you on the radar for exciting career opportunities and growth, or it can ensure that your peers avoid you altogether. According to research from the Centre for Talent Innovation, cultivating a personal brand is the best way to attract the right people. Professionals with the right personal brand are also 23% more likely to be promoted.

Identify your Goal.

What do you want to accomplish with your personal branding strategy? What do you want people to say about you when they hear your name or see your profile?  Think about:

  • The unique values and strengths you can bring to the industry.
  • Your personality and emotional appeal: Remember not just to focus on your technical skills. It’s also important to show businesses and peers the kind of character you have too.
  • Your values and priorities: What do you put first above all other things? Your values and priorities will be the compass that guides the decisions you make for your personal brand.

Begin Building your Narrative.

Once you have an idea of the persona you want to build for yourself going forward, you can begin to look for ways to share that message with the world.

Understanding and adapting your personal story is one of the most complicated parts of growing an effective brand.

Step 1: Audit your Narrative.

If you’ve ever published anything online or shared something on social media, then people will have already begun to develop a perception of you.

Before you can start building an image of the person that you want people to see when they look at you, it’s crucial to find out where you currently stand.

Visit all of your digital platforms, including your website and social media channels, and ask yourself what kind of assumptions you would make about yourself based on what you see. Googling your name can also be a great way to gather information posted by other people – particularly if you’re in a leadership position. Plenty of people comment about their managers and co-workers when they’re leaving a review for a business on sites like Glassdoor.

Make a list of all the words or phrases you don’t want to be associated with, and a list of all the qualities that people already see in you that you appreciate.

These lists will act as guidelines when you’re updating your CV, adjusting your cover letter, or even publishing things on your social profiles.

Step 2: Creating your Personal Pitch.

The “personal pitch” you design will be a kind of profile that you present to everyone you meet or interact with in your space. It shows people how your past and current skills make you valuable.

For instance, if you’re an HR director now, but you want to become a regional sales leader, you can focus on showing people how your past in HR has helped you to listen to people carefully and understand their motivations. This might make you better at suggesting better solutions to client problems as a regional sales leader.

An excellent personal pitch isn’t just good for people in the sector who are job hunting. It’s also useful when you’re trying to show employees and new candidates what kind of manager you’re going to be. For instance, you might use your background in HR to explain to your peers why you value punctuality and empathetic listening in your employees today.

Step 3: Start Networking.

Part of developing a personal brand is telling people who you are and what you stand for. However, those statements become a lot more believable when other people are saying them too. That’s why you need to network and get your story out to as many people as possible.

Remember, it’s essential to connect with people both inside and outside of your specific field. According to Harvard sociologist, Robert Putnam, people place too much value on “bonding capital” and don’t invest in enough “bridging capital.”

The more people from different backgrounds who can speak to your talents or skills, the more support you’ll have when you’re striving to reach your goals.

Make the best use of recruitment consultants.

Remember,  there are few connections more valuable than an experienced recruiter. These business experts can show you how you need to showcase your personal brand when you want to attract new candidates to your company or find a unique career opportunity. Building a relationship with a recruiter is an important way to promote your personal brand to employers. Recruiters are also a great source of information about employment and salary trends.

Step 4: Share Your Ideas Publicly

Keeping a low profile and letting your work speak for itself doesn’t work anymore.

You might be able to gain a good reputation among the people that you’re already working with. However, you won’t be able to spread your personal brand into new environments.

The best way to ensure that your new identity can grow is to get online and start being a part of the digital conversation. Content creation is a great way to showcase what you can do, what you know, and what you’ve already accomplished in your space.

Step 5: Work on Increasing the Value of your Personal Brand

Personal brands are essential for anyone who wants more opportunities in their lives.

With the right reputation, you can attract capital to your business, talent, customers, and even job offers.

Once you’ve decided what you want to be known for, you’ve begun to build your network, and you’ve started working on your content strategy, make sure you:

  • Commit to continuous learning.
  • Build and execute your social media strategy: Post content regularly that will highlight the identity you want people to associate with you. Remember to engage with your followers, too, by responding to messages and comments.
  • Remember the real world: Engage with the physical world as often as you can. It’s easy to get caught up in building your online presence and forget about the value of face-to-face interactions.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Branding

Whether you’re a managing director or a candidate looking for a new career, people are continually looking you up online, checking your profiles on social media, and researching your background.

The best way to ensure that you give the right first impression is to take control of your personal narrative and show off what makes you special.

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