Throughout your life, there’s always someone with more experience than you telling you the right way to “be”. It begins, quite naturally, with your parents and your teachers: “Be nice.” “Be honest.” “Be fair-minded.” “Be the best you can be.” It continues later with your colleagues and your higher-ups: “Be outgoing.” “Be cheerful.” “Be a team player.” “Be open to change.” Sure, all of this is great advice. But does all of it fit your personality? Maybe you’re an introvert. Maybe you work best alone. How can you select the qualities that differentiate you? How can you create “the brand that is you”?
In this digital age, building your own brand is vital. The era of staying at the same job for decades is as dead as the typing pool. Today, individuality is everything, and one of the most important things you need to learn is to become the CEO of your own brand.
Perform a little “Who am I?” exercise
Imagine that you’re at an office party, and someone introduces you to… yourself. What do you see? What’s your facial expression like? Are you smiling? Confident? Shy? What does this person say to you? What does the person’s voice sound like? What about the person’s energy? And how do you respond to this person?
It’s possible that the person you’re imagining meeting, seeing, and engaging with is a little awkward or uncomfortable… or stuck up or not really engaged. It’s even possible that the person you’re imagining meeting isn’t any of the things you believe yourself to be: quietly confident, reassuringly approachable, and well-expressed. What to do with this awkward creature?
Begin by taking a personal inventory
We all think we know ourselves pretty well, but a personal inventory is an essential step in building Brand You. It’s an objective look at your strengths, your weaknesses and your personality. Start with your passions — what makes you leap out of bed in the morning, makes you want to dig deep and deliver? What are your talents? What areas just don’t grab you? Where are your weaknesses? Remember, no one is good at everything, and nobody hires you to be perfect. Understand what Brand You is best at — this your career calling card.
You see, the brand you develop is in some respects a promise. When you build a personal brand, that unique promise of value will have far-reaching effects. It will affect you both in your current position as well as in any eventual job search you might undertake. Branding in resumes influences hiring decision-makers and, when masterfully done, can compel them to feel they must meet you. It can have a tremendously positive impact upon a job search.
Now, empower “Brand You”
Fortunately, with today’s far-reaching social media and easily-accessible web technology, anyone can create their own brand. You’ll need dedication, consistency, and creativity, but it can be done. Personal branding is important when it comes down to marketing yourself to others. You can use Brand You to market yourself to a company and increase your value as a potential employee, to build your own credibility for future ventures, or to build your own company as an entrepreneur or consultant.
As a brand you’ll not only increase your value to others, but you’ll create meaning and purpose in your own life – and best of all, you’ll take control of your own destiny – but only if you build your brand strategically so that others are able to see that value.