“Branding” is a “hot’ new word circulating within organizational walls and C-Suites. But it’s not just for products and companies; nor is “Personal Branding” only reserved for athletes or superstars. Personal branding launches careers for professionals when they use it successfuly to identify themselves as a solution. When you build a brand, you are staking your claim as a sought-after, results-producer that brings a unique set of valuable skills and strengths to the game. When applying this methodology to career development you can soar quicker than your counterparts. It helps you streamline your efforts in preparing your career marketing materials, online presence, interview and networking dialogue. Branding is all about understanding your value, knowing yourself and being authentic in your message and delivery. And yes, this takes work. But the payoff is huge. When you’ve discovered how you are authentically strong, you then can soar through interviews, negotiations and networking with ease. Here are a few ways to get started.
Take an inventory. Branding begins with knowing who you are and what you offer. Identifying thes key branding elements takes time and honest reflection. It also takes feedback. I use a 360 branding assessment with my clients to get the process started, but successful baselines can also be built from having frank conversations with colleagues and peers. What are you known for? What makes you special? How do you stand out? By combining these responses with your personal strengths, skills and experience, you can start to build your brand.
Be consistent. Once you’ve built your brand, ensure your message is consistently woven into your career portfolio materials and social media profiles. This will also be a consistent theme throughout your interview. Most interview questions focus on why you’re especially qualified and how you’ve used your skill-set successfully in the past. With a well-articulated personal brand, you’ll have a consistent theme in all your responses. As for networking, connect where your brand can have impact. If you’re the sales guru of your industry, then align with associations where your industry is well represented. Share your brand relevancy and how your unique combination of skills, strengths and experience will provide the solution.
Communicate your brand. Blogging, networking and everyday conversations are all great ways to build your brand. Once your message is defined, use it regularly so that people will begin to associate you with the words you want to convey. This drives opportunities to you. If people know what you are good at, then they will think of you when a position becomes available within their organization. This is another way that personal branding works nicely for job seekers. If you’re seen as a solution, then you’ll be attractive to an organization. And this will definitely pay off in salary negotiations.
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