Imagine you’re a recruiter hiring for a coveted role at a top organization. You’re screening the list of top 50 candidates, applicants who beat out hundreds of other potentials in your online system. You narrow it down to the top 25 based on impeccable cover letters. What’s the next step? Google, of course.
“Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are your ‘blind’ date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.” — Gary Vaynerchuck, Author of Crush It!
Whether you like it or not, you are a brand. Managing your brand identity is now an integral part of your professional success, because if you do not define your story, someone else will write it for you.
It doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply consider the following:
What do you stand for?
What values do you build your life around? Sometimes it takes a little thinking, but once you consider reoccuring behaviour in your life, you will uncover what matters to you and what your vision is. This, along with your personal and professional aspirations, helps you define your mission.
Every company has a mission statement; develop yours and make it your core focus.
What are your strengths?
Reflect on your area(s) of expertise, developed through your work, volunteer and educational experiences. What problems do people come to solve? What skills are you known for? Determining how you are an asset to your organization and the community at large helps you understand what benefits your brand offers to others.
What personal challenges do you enjoy?
Consider what stimulates you when you’re not at work. Activities and hobbies that you do on the site that energize you and challenge you. They not only help build discipline and promote personal growth, but also distinguish you from others in your profession.
“We are CEOs of our companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Actively thinking about your brand helps you understand your own value and your position in your market. It isn’t restricted to marketers — in this digital age, every single professional has the ability to build and sustain a strong, consistent presence online.
The way you brand yourself sends a clear message about how others your should treat you. Don’t let others define that message for you.