As the workplace flexes and bends and more opportunities arise for portfolio careers, it has become increasingly important for individuals to create and manage an authentic personal brand. Whether an entrepreneur or employee, you must be mindful of presenting a consistent representation of your self that positions you where you want to be.
Think beyond all those clichés; “I’m a results-oriented professional” or “excellent team player”, hiring managers and potential employees see this a million times a day and showcase absolutely nothing about YOU and what makes you unique.
Your current brand
Whether you realise or not, you already have a personal brand. You might not even be aware of it but everyone has one. The more conscious you are about this as you rise through the ranks in your professional life, the better.
A good place to start when working on your personal brand is to note down words that you’d use to describe yourself? Now check those against the words you believe others would use to describe you (check references or performance reviews if you have any stored). Do the words align?
For example, if you would like to be known for your ability to lead a team, but your previous employer commented how you were happy to go with the flow in team projects – then you will know that in future you will need to speak up and be heard in group projects.
The key to having an excellent personal brand ensures you are always 100% authentic and true to yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you are not, believe in your own abilities and feel secure in the knowledge that you are unique.
What is your brand?
Your brand is just an outward reflection of who are you, so take some time to consider what your life goals are? What is it that you hope to achieve? Think about your passions and what is your purpose? These are the anchors of you as an individual and when you establish these you can begin to understand what your personal brand is.
Understand your value
Your value isn’t based on who you work for or your position at a job. It’s based on what you’re able to bring to the table. What is it that you do extremely well and who does it best serve? In business, we talk a lot about finding a target audience and a niche market. It helps you narrow down the list of potential customers (or employers) that you can best help and who you would most enjoy working with.
Own Your Space
Once you have identified your uniqueness and your personal strengths, perfect them. You possess the power to become an expert in your area. Read, learn and absorb as much information as you can.
Deliver on your value consistently
Don’t be the only one talking about your value. Have other people do it too. You can do this by consistently delivering, going above and beyond on all projects you work on. This is ultimately how you can build a loyal network of brand ambassadors and get people to refer you organically. Do what you do so well that other people start raving about you.
Ask your professional network (even your existing employer) to give you a testimonial or a “co-sign.” Have them highlight what you do well and how you’re becoming a leader in your industry.
Make a slick business website, design your own blog – create a platform to share your views on. Blogs are an excellent way to publish your point of view and display your identity to the market. It’s important to have a really strong digital presence, but it’s also important to have a physical one as well. Attend industry events and conferences with some memorable business cards in your pocket and seize any chance for networking.
Naturally, as we evolve as professionals – so does our brand. Always make sure you remain current, relevant and exciting. It’s important to keep up-to-date on the latest trends in your industry and develop and upskill at any opportunity. Always keep learning, growing and evolving because this is how you open the doors to new opportunities.
Follow the advice of our consultants, and you’ll see the powerful effects of a strong personal brand, as your network grows, your presence in the industry strengthens and the opportunities will come flooding in.