“I have been hearing and reading a lot about the importance of building my personal brand .. it all seems to be tied with using LinkedIn and blogging and networking at events. Which is why I started writing posts a few months ago, but it all sort of fizzled out.”
“I want to blog, but am not sure how to go about it AND what if I do it all wrong and everyone makes fun of me! Also, I really don’t have the time! ”
“I think personal branding is for celebrities or C suite managers who can hire professionals. My career is doing fine as it is, what can I really gain from it?”
These are the TOP THREE reasons we hear from professionals – junior, as well, as senior management – about why they are not trying to establish their personal brand.
These are all valid thoughts and reasons. But they can all be easily taken care of!
You don’t need a lot of time to stay active on LinkedIn; you can get professional help to get your blogs up and running; you can hire a ghost-writer to pen down your insights in a palatable form, AND personal branding is not just a fancy trend – it will pay rich dividends in all aspects of your career.
It is all eminently doable, and there is professional guidance available to get you started. BUT there is one critical bit that YOU have to do yourself – decide on what your brand stands for!
You have to fix your message and before you do anything else. You have to decide how you want to present yourself. For this, deep introspection and critical feedback are needed. Here’s what you need to do to get this right.
How To Go About Defining Your Personal Brand
Find your strengths
The best place to start is to identify what you are good at.
For this look at your best projects, your most commended team role or job, ask yourself what is the one thing that you do better than anyone else in your team? Are you the go-to person for a certain job?
Along with strengths, you must also identify your weaknesses or problem areas. With all this information, create a top-5 list. Now its time to get some outside perspective on your list, we recommend you ask some close friends and colleagues about your top 5 strengths and include their feedback to distill your list.
Another great way to find out what makes you tick is to examine your passions. We all have some huge interests that ignite us – they might lie dormant under work and life pressures, but when unwrapped they give us immense pleasure.
Let your subconscious take over; think about what you genuinely enjoy doing. What would you do if money was not at stake? What type of people or activities do you like to engage with? What topics are you most knowledgeable about, and what are you always reading or searching for online?
Answering these questions will undoubtedly bring you clarity on what you enjoy. Dig a bit deeper to find out WHY you like doing these things. Look for the underlying common denominator that might pop up and jot down what comes up in your master list.
We are driven to make choices according to our values and belief systems. They have a profound impact on our behaviour and actions. Your brand message must be aligned with your values. Hence, it is essential to define your value system clearly.
Think of situations at work and at home that makes you angry or sad or satisfied. Identify what triggered these feelings. What are some things you would never do, no matter how much money or recognition you were offered? Thinking of what your NO-GO zones are would help you narrow down your deeply held values.
Add 5 to your list.
Find out how your career connects to your life beyond the office. Why are you doing this job? What do you hope to achieve from it? Apart from work, what do you see as the larger purpose of your existence?
Identify your dreams and hopes, and you will be able to narrow down your life goals. Add some points by writing out sentences such as “I am…” “I have…” “I enjoy…” “I will…”
Bring it all together
Use the information you have gathered above to distill your message. Craft an elevator pitch that showcases your strengths, and talks about your values. Make sure that you are guided by your purpose and passion in pursuing the larger personal branding exercise. Your message should align with your interests and propel you towards achieving your purpose.
The key is authenticity. Your personal brand is all about projecting who you are, not about manufacturing a false narrative of what might be most useful for a job search. Remember, your brand will outlive your current or even your next job.
Treat your personal brand message like your calling card. It’s about bringing who you are to what you do and how you do it. Communicating this clearly and consistently will build your reputation and leave an impression on all who encounter you across the virtual or physical world.
There is absolutely no doubt that everyone in the corporate world must start working on building their personal brand. If you are unsure about how to go about it, then don’t let that stop you. Join our personal branding training to create a clear roadmap and start today.