A strong personal brand can help you land a better job or attract more clients for your company. Check out this article for a few useful tips on how to establish a strong identity, stand out from the crowd, and achieve your career goals.
When it comes to advancing your career, a strong personal brand can mean the difference between whether doors gets opened or slammed in your face. Establishing a name for yourself has the power to turn contacts into clients, interviewers into employers, and influencers into mentors. Regardless of the industry you activate in, building a recognizable personal brand opens professional opportunities and helps you get ahead.
Most importantly, you’re already crafting your brand, even if you don’t fully realize it yet. Each professional encounter you experience or social media update you share contributes to how others see you. To accomplish your career goals, you need to make sure it does so in a positive way.
I never understood the importance of having a strong personal brand until I got my current job. The company I work for now found and approached me on Twitter, of all places. It was as mind-boggling as it was unexpected. The recruiter told me he’s been following my tweets for a while and he felt I would be a good fit. Of course, I still had to go through a bunch of interviews, but I don’t think I would have gotten the opportunity if it wasn’t for my Twitter presence, which I wasn’t even particularly invested in perfecting.
Since then, I’ve been more careful about what I share online and how I conduct myself when I’m at networking events. Here’s what I found works when you’re trying to build a strong personal brand and climb the ladder to professional success.
Being OK at everything doesn’t help you stand out from the competition. Instead, focus on being really proficient in one or two areas. Becoming a specialist at something will instantly raise your profile and make you a much more appealing candidate to employers looking for someone with your particular skills. The key to landing your dream gig is to get noticed and prove you’re really knowledgeable in areas where others are just adequate. You will build a reputation as an expert among amateurs, which will make you much more appealing in the eyes of recruiters or potential clients.
We live in the digital age, so we all have a digital footprint. Make sure yours screams “professional”. Google yourself, see what pops up, and take down any embarrassing posts or pictures. You wouldn’t want the first thing an employer finds when looking you up online to be a picture of your new tattoo or a drunken selfie. Like it or not, your online persona is an extension of yourself. You can present yourself like a professional individual in your everyday life as much as you want; if your social media profiles don’t convey the same image, all efforts will be in vain.
You can’t get ahead without networking. Even if you already have a job you like, you should still make an effort to nurture those professional relationships that can one day help you secure an even more impressive position. Attend industry events, take influencers from your field to lunch, find a mentor to support you and offer advice. Also, go on interviews whenever the opportunity presents itself. According to Free Pre-Employment Test, the U.S. Department of Labor states that a bad hire can equal 30 percent of an employee’s yearly salary. Recruiters are much more careful when screening candidates than in the past, so receiving an invitation for a sit-down means they really think you’d be an asset for the company. Plus, it will give you the chance to brush up on your interview skills.
Your personal brand is your reputation, and faking it can be exhausting and fruitless. Show your real self to the world. Share your passions and interests. Your brand should be a product of your personality, not the other way around. It should be about showcasing your strengths and downplaying your weaknesses, not about entirely becoming someone else. The version of yourself you choose to share with the world should be a refined one, true, but one that still stays true to your unique self.
Branding is usually a term associated with companies. Nowadays though, almost everyone has a personal brand, even if we don’t consciously cultivate it. Use the tips above to stay ahead of the competition and make a name for yourself in the industry. Success will surely follow.