Branding is no longer just for companies, products and services, if it ever was just for them. ‘Personal brand’ has become an increasingly common phrase and for good reason. Just as more traditional branding helps organizations to draw market awareness, public recognition and customer loyalty to them, building your own personal brand can have a comparably positive effect on employers’ and the labour market’s attitude to you as a professional. Let’s take a look at specific reasons for building your brand and some strategies for how to do so.
1. Employment is precarious. With organizations responding to ever more demanding marketplaces, none of our jobs are forever. Even with the best intentions, we have to accept that uncertainty is normal.
2. We need a continuous working life. For the duration of our economic working life, which seems to get longer as every year passes, we have to do everything that we can to assure ourselves employed and to gain economic reward for our labour.
3. You must be prepared to move. If you combine nos. 1 and 2 above, you must be in a state of preparedness, to some degree, regarding your career and the possibility of you being let go from your current position. Not being prepared for this is foolhardy.
4. Your network should know where you are and how you’re doing at all times. Nowadays, that means that you should have an accessible, up to date online profile where your contacts can check you out and see what you’re up to.
5. If you are prepared to move, you must have a personal brand that is fresh and looks like you’re ready. It must appeal to all employers within your target area of focus. This includes your current employer.
6. Your personal brand should show, in everything, your growth in terms of your value. This growth is based upon your experience, your skills, your learning and so on.
7. Focus on who you want to impress. If you were looking at someone else’s brand, what would impress you? If you were a potential employer or entrepreneur, what would you want to impress the job candidate or buyer with in your company’s or product’s brand?
8. Your brand should reflect the value that you have now. Focus on tomorrow. Think about things you’ve seen in yourself and your brand today that you can work on tomorrow. Don’t spend huge amounts of time and energy going back over the past.
9. In your personal brand, highlight what value you believe is needed in the market and that is pertinent to you. Use your brand to demonstrate to employers what you’d be adding to their organization if they choose to go with you.
10. You need to build the bridge between nos. 8 and 9 above. Be explicit about your understanding of the market and the need for people like you and for what it is you can do.
11. Recognize the current prominence of the digital world. People are expecting you to perform certain professional tasks digitally, so brush up or expand your tech skills if necessary. Find a way to use technology that’s convenient and useful for you.
12. Be as professional as you can be behind the profiles and credentials that you choose to use in presenting your personal brand. Your brand is about presenting yourself as a professional, so act like one.
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies which created the Career Ignition Club, a leading-edge online careers support and learning platform. Follow him @PosIgnition