If you’re of a similar age to myself (*cough* 35 *cough*), then hands up who was always taught to set out a CV a certain way, with your job history, education, and a ubiquitous ‘hobbies’ section where everyone seemed to enjoy reading, running and socialising with friends (Read: going to the pub) as standard.
Dull, dull, dull.
Whilst the majority of successful businesses have always had an element of branding, whether it’s a recognisable logo, strapline or themed advert, today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level and goes hand-in-hand with the professional image you showcase to the world. The old-fashioned CV is no longer enough to guarantee your place in a noisy digital world or office.
So why create a personal brand?
It’s a cliche, but a cliche for a reason: People buy people, and that’s what makes business relationships valuable.
Thinking about your personal brand can help you in a variety of work-related situations.
Maybe you feel stuck in a rut in your current job and you feel you’re not getting the credit you deserve? Maybe you’re returning to work after taking a break to be home with the children? Or maybe you’re wanting to reinvent yourself in a new career and live life on your terms?
For those of you new to the idea, personal branding evolved from people realising that the key to business success is corporate branding. When this is done well, the company is then at the forefront of our minds when we need the kind of services it offers.
Personal branding is no different to the above. However, for many people, the concept of self-promotion and ‘putting ones self out there’ feels a bit uncomfortable, and (especially us Brits) we are often too modest, a trait that whilst endearing can hinder too. So many people work hard and hope that the world will see their achievements and let their work speak for itself. The trouble is that in reality and in that noisy digital world, it often won’t get seen until you shout about it and shine a light on yourself!
That’s where personal branding comes in, and what I help my clients with if needed when it comes to designing their social feeds, website content and how they want to come across.
In a nutshell, personal branding is about giving people the words to talk about you when you’re not around. It’s how people speak about you to others, or tell them how you can help them. It’s not about becoming an obnoxious, arrogant self-promoter, but about letting others know who you are, what you do, and how you can best help and offer a service, in a memorable way:
Be Your Authentic Self
This can be a little daunting when you think about this, and it involves digging into your soul (well, maybe not quite, but you get the jist). Grab an old fashioned pen and paper and do a little self-audit exercise. What are your strengths, values, and passions? Be clear on what you do by reflecting on your expertise, experiences and leadership vision. What has your journey been to get to where you are now? People love a story, they love a journey, as long as it’s an authentic one. Once you have an idea of this you’ll find it much easier to position yourself in your chosen market because you’ll come across authentic and focused. Which leads me to…
Once you’ve done the above, you can start creating a ‘positioning statement’. it’s what you would tell others about yourself in 2 minutes or less. Include who you are and what you do, but don’t forget to say how it helps others. Practising this in the mirror, or even filming yourself doing this until you’re statement perfect might seem like the actions of a saddo, but at least you’ll be a prepared one, confidence-filled one!
Now that you have an authentic brand that feels true to you, you need to let the world know about it. Start networking and update your social media profiles, meet and connect with people who are directly involved in your industry or career, but also with people on different paths who you can learn from, and who can learn from you. Keep your profiles updated so people can follow your journey.
If they’re interested in what you have to say, and you stay true to yourself, they’ll be following you every step of the way….