In a world of fast passing fads, quickly evolving trends, and short attention spans, aspiring leaders should care more in building up and strengthening personal brand to help them stand out from the noise. A personal brand is an extension of who you are and what makes you different from others. It is what makes you memorable and unique – something that will likely stick in people’s mind after you leave the room.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
Why does personal branding matter?
Some people might correlate personal branding as a person’s identity as it is within an individual, encompassing one’s passions, strength, and purpose in the world. Numerous experts believe that developing personal brand is essential for the advancement of career and development as a leader. In today’s competitive world, having a unique personal brand can get you hired for your next job or help boost your own business projects.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43 percent use social media to check on current employees. The survey also cited that personal branding is beneficial from the employer’s perspective. Thus, employers often prefer to hire candidates who have a strong personal brand.
The growing gig economy also contributes as one of the reasons why personal brands are valuable. Diane Mulcahy told the Washington Post that the gig economy is big and getting bigger. Companies will do just about anything to avoid hiring full-time employees. Add to that the fact that there is no job security anymore, workers are increasingly aware that they need to work differently if they want to create any sort of stability for themselves. For example, strengthening their own brand so that they can progress in a competitive world of gig economy.
So, how does one build a personal brand that stands out?
Personal branding is an ongoing process of establishing an image in the mind of others. It can be done online and/or offline, for example via social media, networking, forum, etc. Here are tangible ways to build up and strengthen your personal brand:
- If you are new to the world of work, you should develop a bio statement. Make it appealing by using positive words arrangements. If you are an expert in one area, it will be great if you have a slogan to brand yourself. But remember, personal branding is not a resume. Your personal statement gives a snapshot of who you are, what you do, and what value you bring to others. Personal brand statements are usually three to four sentences long and clearly communicate the vision of your personal brand.
- You do not need to be an active social media influencer but be present on social media. It is the 21st century where there is no reason to not subscribe to social media channels. You can, for example, follow someone or a group of your choice to get a better look at how professionals do their job. It will be great if you reach out to your chosen influencers on social media and build a professional relationship with them. You can both expand your network and get free lessons from experienced people.
- Be an attention grabber, talk about what makes you interesting. You might think that networking topics in business are around projects, professionalism, and things that are associated with work. But that is not necessarily true. Great networking also talks about passion, hobbies, personality traits and other things that will make you look interesting in the eyes of others.
- Identify your core values and put them into action. For example, if you care about social causes, find opportunities to volunteer at a local organisation that supports and advocates for these causes. Actively looking for platforms that match your passions and traits will help you connect more with like-minded people.
- Attend industry events - obviously because attending an event expands your networks for professional development. The more you expand your network, the more you position yourself for opportunities.
Whether you are a job seeker actively looking for a job, an employee who looks for promotion, or an entrepreneur who wants to expand your business, you should always be mindful to have a good, authentic personal brand. Personal branding is more important now than ever because first impressions matter, be it in the professional worlds or personal life.