According to Forbes, personal branding is more important than ever. Don’t think you have a personal brand? Think again. Everything you do online is part of your personal brand. In many cases, your online presence is your potential employer’s first impression.
How Branding Works
As a job applicant, you’re trying to market your skills to an employer. In this way, you’re a lot like a company trying to sell its products and services to a consumer. Companies use branding to help them appeal to consumers. Likewise, your personal brand can help you build your career.
Companies put a lot of work into developing a brand. It’s more than a name, a logo and slogan. A brand is a company’s unique personality. It tells people what they can expect from the company and its product. Ideally, every advertisement, social post and sponsorship works toward consistently developing this brand.
With good branding, a soda company isn’t merely a purveyor of fizzy beverages. It’s an essential component of fun times with friends and family. A shoe company doesn’t just sell footwear. It’s a partner in your quest for victory.
A brand helps companies differentiate themselves from the competition. There are a lot of companies that sell soda and – let’s be honest here – many of them taste pretty similar. Branding is part of what helps one company convince consumers to buy its soda instead of its competitor’s.
When you’re looking for a job or fighting for a promotion, you’re also facing a lot of competition. Your skills and experience might not be that different from the skills and experience of other candidates. Your personal brand is what helps you stand out.
How to Develop Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand should clearly convey how you are different from other job applicants and what employers can expect from you. It should authentically represent your personality and values.
- Think about why an employer should hire you. What is it that you have to offer? What makes you a better choice than the other candidates?
- Focus on a few of your core skills and strengths. You may have many positive attributes but including too much in your brand will dilute it, so focus on your greatest points. For example, do you want to present yourself as a creative innovator? Or as a reliable team player?
- Use strong keywords that match what employers in your industry are looking for.
- Take advantage of every opportunity to develop your brand. In your resume and cover letter, develop your brand through word choice, style and emphasis. If you have a website or business card, these should also reflect your brand. Remember that employers may check out your online presence, too, so be sure to develop your brand in the social accounts or websites they may find. This is especially important for professional accounts, such as LinkedIn, but be careful that personal social accounts do not undermine the image you wish to portray.
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