The importance of personal branding

Here’s an article I wrote for Brands Journal, on how to build your personal brand for career advancement. If you’re thinking that personal branding is only for business leaders or politicians, then this article will make you think again!

The importance of personal branding

Personal branding is not just about portraying yourself to the public, but the core of personal branding is about defining who you are. The prerequisite of having successful personal branding is to understand your unique attributes, skills, values, and passions. After that, present it in a way that highlights your uniqueness and differentiates you from the crowd. So in short, don’t think that doing personal branding is for other people. Doing personal branding is for yourself – it helps you understand yourself better, and lets your audience know about your stance, philosophy, or objectives.

Whether you use personal branding to land a job, to get your information to potential employers, promote your company, or build your fan base or follower base, personal branding is the art to present your true self in a relevant way to your career orientation.

In the following part, I will guide you through 5 comprehensive steps to building your brand image for career advancement.

How to build personal branding for career advancement

1. Self-assessment

The first step to personal branding is to figure out who you are. I suggest you take out a note and start listing the following characteristics:

Personality: What kind of person you are and how do you often react? To be more objective, you can think about what characteristics others complimented and criticized you. While doing this, keep in mind that characteristics can both be advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation.

Values: Define what motivates you in your career? What are your beliefs and your priorities in life (i.e. family, career, social life, etc.)? What did you do to sustain these values in the past few years?

Skills and qualifications: Formal qualifications, soft skills, and education background.

Experience and achievements: Your previous school activities (if you’re a fresher) and projects that you’ve worked on. Which type of project do you prefer and which drains your energy? Did you receive any recognition or award for your effort?

2. Research the industry

After finding out about yourself, the next step is to get to know your industry and its requirements. Map out the career branches and narrow them down to those that interest you. If you have specific firms that you’d like to work for, be sure to look into them at this stage. Each career requires a specific set of skills and qualifications, so it’s best to know what to expect.

3. Audit

Have you gathered enough information on yourself and your industry? Now, it’s time to match all that information together. What set of goals do you already have that can satisfy the requirements? What do you still need to improve to enhance your image? In this step, you should be able to determine what you want to be known for.

4. Engage

Once you’ve had a brand image in mind, it’s time to identify platforms and strategies to establish your reputation.

– Social media: Nowadays, social media is one of the most popular tools to grow your online presence. But each channel has its own use, so you should tailor your content and image accordingly. For example, people often use LinkedIn and Twitter for professional networking, while Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are often for entertainment or casual contact. 

Networking events: Join professional associations and networking events to expand your professional circle. The more connection you have, the more value you added to yourself and your career advancement. Some relationships can become handy later in your work. So don’t shy away from industry events.

Elevator pitch: Prepare a 30- to 60-second introduction about who you are to highlight yourself during networking events or social meetings. This boosts your confidence, helps the conversation go smoother, and allows others to capture the main points, such as your current position, particular strength, expertise, etc. The key is to be brief and on point. Don’t put up a speech centering on yourself during a networking session.

Personal website: Having your own website and blog is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. You can deliver your values and viewpoint through various content formats – writing, graphic, video, podcast, etc.

5. Be Consistent

Being consistent is very important in building personal branding. Your value propositions and viewpoint should be consistent both online and offline. Don’t try to please everyone by agreeing with everything, but try to establish your genuine opinion and perspective. This consistency gives yourself and your audience a focus. This focus will make it easier for you to generate content and help your audience know when they should approach you.

To sum up, having a personal brand image not only helps you advance in your career and establish your expertise in the eyes of others, but it also helps you to evaluate and understand where you stand. Personal branding is not a one-time thing, but a lifelong project. Don’t hesitate to reinvent or renew your image as you grow further into your career.

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