You are a brand.
The way you look, act, speak, relate to people and events – everything about you is unique. However, in a connected world where everyone is online, including you, it becomes really important to make sure that you are perceived exactly how you want to be perceived.
If you are a working professional, you have to be careful and make sure that you present yourself so that your strengths are emphasized. Employers now have a whole range of online resources available to evaluate candidates for job positions. They’re no longer just going to rely on your CV. So if they search for you online, they better like what they find out about you.
If you are a new graduate, it is all the more important for you to present yourself online so that employers realize your value as a new talent. Do you really have the skills needed for the job? Can you work in a team?
What is personal branding?
Branding is defined as the actions taken to increase the association of certain attributes to a product or company. In this case, the product is YOU. Personal branding then is the act of associating desired attributes to yourself in a way that presents exactly who you are, what you represent, and how you can add value to the world.
Let’s be very clear. Personal branding is not about creating a persona that is not you. Not even your ideal self. You will find it hard to live up to people’s perception and expectations. Imagine wanting to be seen as a daredevil (when the highest peak you’ve climbed and jumped it your backyard fence). Are you going to suddenly jump out of a plane at 30,000 feet? That would have been the height of craziness (and stupidity).
Personal branding requires that you know yourself.
“Know Thyself” – Plato
Do you really know yourself? How would you describe yourself?
List down as many adjectives as you can to describe yourself. Don’t be too modest. If you think you are brave or smart or daring, list them all down. Don’t lie to yourself though. Don’t say you are artistic when you really aren’t (just knowing how to draw stick figures don’t make you a Picasso).
When you are satisfied that you have written down your most important attributes, separate the positive from the negative. We only want to focus on your positive attributes at this point. Choose the Top 3 and rank them. Why only 3? You will eventually build on these attributes and it’s going to be harder to build a personal brand around a wide range of attributes. For example, you might select “Smart”, “Brave”, and “Friendly” as your Top 3. These will influence a lot of what you will post later on.
In the next post, we will go deeper into building a Powerful Personal Brand.