You have finally pursued your dream career. Your personal website is up. Your social media pages are active. You gain attention from people every once in a while.
Months pass by, and your career has not taken off. A year goes by, and you still have not made much progress. Doubts start to creep in.
You begin to question your abilities and choice of career. Check your personal branding. Is it strong? Are you consistent with it?
Are you even aware of it?
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is not how you identify yourself. It is how others see you. It is how your loved ones will defend you when a stranger speaks ill of you. In other words, personal branding is a reputation and not a personal identity.
For example, Ellen DeGeneres is known for her honesty, genuineness, and quirky humor. When one hears the name Ellen, it brings feelings of warmth and happiness. This is her personal brand, and it made her a household name.
Oprah Winfrey is another example. She is known for her wisdom, strength, and accomplishments. She has become an inspiration and is one of the world’s greatest influencers today. This is her personal brand.
Having a strong personal brand is important. It builds trust, credibility, and connections. It also opens more doors for opportunities, which lead to career success.
Who is Personal Branding for?
You have a personal brand whether you like it or not. It is how people feel about you and not what you tell them about yourself. Your brand stems from the way you think, talk, and move.
You can either take advantage of it or ignore it. Either way, it determines your career success.
How to Build Your Personal Brand
Raise Your Self-Awareness
Get to know more about yourself. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Identify tasks you enjoy doing versus tasks that make you drag your feet. Know your motivations and inspirations.
Next, ask your family and friends to describe you. You have personality aspects only others can see, called blind spots. An outsider’s perspective will help fill that gap.
Finally, make a compilation of what you wrote and what others wrote about you. Sort them out, and come up with a final list. This is the foundation of your personal brand.
Choose Your Target Market
Choose which target market you want to attract. Learn how to connect with them. They will set the tone for your personal brand.
If babies are your target market, you have to consider their decision-makers: parents. If you want to attract teenagers, you should be visible on social media. If you want to target professionals, your personal branding must exude credibility.
Choose your audience carefully. Study their language. Your personal brand must speak to them.
Define Your Personal Brand
Everyone aspires to be unique. They want to be differentiated from the crowd. It makes them memorable.
Decide how you want to stand out from your competitors. List down the qualities needed to build that reputation. Then, adjust these qualities to your personal qualities.
This will help create a unique and authentic personal brand.
Live Your Personal Brand
Personal branding does not end with your chosen work wardrobe. It does not end with your logo’s design–if you have one. It certainly does not end with the “About Me” section of your website.
You must live your personal brand every single day. It is the same way as telling your story and providing proof to support it. It creates authenticity and establishes credibility.
Walk the talk, and you will win people over.
Being genuine about your personal brand goes a long way. Living your brand will become easier. It will feel natural to you.
To achieve this, you must stay true to your personal brand. Let it reflect your personality and ideologies. After all, your personal brand is who you are.
Being memorable gains more audience. People will easily recall who you are and where to find you. If they need your services or products, they can quickly refer back to you.
However, being memorable is not a walk in the park. The world is more fast-paced today. People have a shorter attention span.
If you want to be memorable, you must study what captures your audience’s attention. It might mean being more creative, going with the latest trends, or even swimming against the current. Whatever it is, it should leave a mark on your audience.
Always be a Few Steps Ahead
Being a few steps ahead is important for career success. It shows that you take the initiative. Clients will feel that you care about them.
This is another way to build credibility. Your clients will trust you more with their current and future needs. As a bonus, you rake in more profit.
Once you have your personal brand, put it out there. If it works in your favor, congratulations. If it does not, try again.
The majority of today’s successful people struggled to find their personal brand. However, they looked at their failures as motivation to do better. Had they not persevered, they would not be where they are today. (See Related: How to Prepare for a Job Interview)
Be Consistent with your Personal Brand
Your consistency will speak volumes about you. It means you are passionate, goal-oriented, and competent. It also helps you hit more career goals, which leads to career success.
On the other hand, inconsistency decreases credibility. It leaves your audience feeling confused and disinterested. This will cost you career opportunities and your career itself, eventually.
Contrary to popular belief, personal branding for career success is not an entitlement. It is earned. It is built on the foundation of hard work, integrity, dedication, and consistency.
Hence, it is important to choose a personal brand that reflects who you are. By staying true to yourself, work becomes more enjoyable. As the old adage goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
If you are passionate about what you do, success becomes inevitable.