Personal branding is all about marketing yourself.
I’m honored to be invited to blog on a topic I’m passionate about, but first a little background on my branding experience. As a graduate student, I co-founded the GW Certificate in Responsible Management in which students created personal blogs documenting their community service. From this, I learned first-hand the impact that branding can have for a student, especially in a competitive job market. I then went on to IBM where I helped a Partner develop a branding campaign using Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and blogs. This post provides lessons I’ve learned from these experiences and tips for improving your personal brand.
Why is branding important? A strong personal brand sets you apart. No matter what stage you are in your career, you will face competition. Whether you’re applying for a promotion or new job (or even a new roommate!) having a strong brand will help you get ahead. A key point to remember is that branding is just as important for you in your current career as it is for your next, so don’t put it off until you are looking for a new opportunity.
The first step in personal branding is determining what your brand should be. Do you want to be known as someone who can turn-around troubled projects? Have you lived abroad and want to share your cross-cultural knowledge? Think about what makes you unique. What do colleagues come to you for help with? What are you passionate about? Identifying what you want your brand to be will help focus your efforts.
Remember, your personal brand is much more than your profession. Don’t limit yourself. “An employee who brands himself does not let his job title subsume him,” says one CEO. “He might be in accounting now, but I’ve stopped thinking of him as an accountant. I’ve come to think of him as a problem solver or a strategist. These people are identified more with the company’s goals than with any current slot in the organization.”
So, are you ready to start “being your own brand?”
- First, assess your current brand. Google yourself. What do you find? What does it say about you? “Before anyone asks to see your resume, they’ll undoubtedly have checked you out on the web. What others say, true and false, is visible 24/7. A Google search of your name is essentially the resume the world has created for you,” says executive job search consultant, Debra Feldman.
- Build your brand. Identify places where conversations about your areas of expertise are already happening. Volunteer, be authentic, and add value to the conversation. For example, are you an experienced mentor or coach? Then volunteer to be a guest blogger on a human capital blog such as “Human Capital League,” and share your expertise with others.
- Remember it’s a constant process. Update your resume and online profiles regularly – You’ll want to include recent accomplishments and stay timely. Consistency is critical – it helps others to understand that you are dependable and focused, so no, there isn’t such a thing as being “done” with branding.
This post was written by Lisa Manning, Organizational Change Management & Social Media Consultant at IBM.