How to Build Your Personal Brand

By coachniquenyaeHow Member

The job market can be highly competitive. With so many other job candidates possessing the same level of education, experience and qualifications as you do, how then can you set yourself apart from the competition? You do this by building your personal brand.

Your personal brand is essentially the same thing as your reputation. Just as a company would, you must treat your reputation as a valuable asset. Here are some steps to assist you in establishing and maintaining your personal brand.

Step 1

Consider your purpose. Before you can begin the process of building your personal brand, you have to have a general idea of what you are trying to achieve by doing so. Are you launching a new career, attempting to establish yourself as a subject matter expert, launching a new contracting venture on the side, or simply trying to become more marketable and/or valuable within your current position or field? How will you know when you have succeeded? Know what you want and what success will look like so you can have a better idea of what direction will work best to get there.

Step 2

Define your brand identity. Now that you have some idea of what you are trying to achieve, you can develop a plan to get you there. Identify how you would like to be set apart from your competition. What makes you unique? What benefits can hiring you provide a company that another similarly qualified candidate may not bring to the table? Are you an internet marketing whiz? Are you a highly skilled salesperson? Have you been published or often sought after for your newsworthy expertise?

Build up a short list of three to five of your most valuable assets along with how/why each would benefit an employer. Pick out a few keywords that could sum up your list. These are your competitive advantage and what you will focus on to represent your brand.

Step 3

Communicate your message. In the last step, you created your brand identity. Now it is time to relay that identity to your target audience whenever and wherever possible. The most logical places to start are on your business cards, on the web and in your own actions.

You may not have much flexibility with what is printed onto your company business cards; however, there is no rule that says you can’t order your own to use at industry networking events and other non-company related activities. Have your chosen keywords or a unique catch phrase that incorporates your keywords printed onto your business cards along with your basic information. This will begin to identify you as a go-to person for these specific keywords.

Add your keywords and/or catch phrase to your email signatures and social networking profiles online. Start a blog and/or actively contribute to other’s blogs and community message boards where you can begin identifying your brand as a subject matter expert in your field. Consistently provide added value to wherever you might leave a digital trail.

Your brand identity represents who you are or at least who you want others to see you as being. This means you will need to exemplify these values and beliefs by your actions. Participate in and contribute to activities that can demonstrate your ownership of your chosen keywords and/or catch phrase. For instance, if one of your keywords is “relationship-builder”, then you will want to consistently work to establish and cultivate new and existing relationships, not only for yourself, but between others who could benefit from knowing one another. By actively connecting people with people, you are establishing valuable credibility as a “relationship-builder”.

Step 4

Stretch yourself. Building your personal brand means that you will need to learn how to be more flexible and versatile. Some keywords can best be demonstrated by doing things outside of your defined job responsibilities. The more you are willing to help others, the more valuable of an asset you become to them. Make yourself available to meet the needs of others in a way that makes your personal brand stand out. Offer your assistance whenever possible in areas that will further demonstrate your brand identity. Be generous and giving but always keep your purpose in mind. Only take on those activities that you can fully commit to and that will raise your brand awareness.

Step 5

Keep it real. How you communicate your message is just as important as the message itself. This is truly important to remember when acting on step 4. There can be a very thin line between being seen as a brown-noser rather than a real asset. If your actions are perceived as disingenuine, this can be highly detrimental to your brand identity. Make sure that every action you choose to initiate is carried out with sincerity and integrity. This is why it is important to define your purpose in the very beginning. Knowing the driving force behind your personal brand identity is what will fuel your passion for the work. People can identify with your passion and will less likely see your intentions as false.

Step 6

Be bold and consistent. You will need to really grab the bull by the horns to get your brand out there. Initiate activities that allow you to demonstrate your brand identity and follow-through with every project to the end. Step up when no one else will and take command of projects that need to get done.

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