What is a Personal Brand and How Do I Use It?
If you think brands are the exclusive property of companies, think again. Your “personal brand” might be the difference between finding the job of your dreams, or spending years in career limbo. Maybe it’s time to perform a little due diligence on your end to bring personal brand in alignment with your resume or CV.
Understand the Term
Personal brand does not mean you need a logo and a color scheme, what it means is that you are comfortable being who you are and are confident enough to share yourself boldly with the world.
Your brand is not a listing of your wonderful executive accomplishments. Your brand is who you are, your creativity, your innovation, your motivation, and your deep commitment to excel.
Comprised largely of perceptions of who you are, a personal brand is an amalgamation of:
· Your online presence
· Track record
Understanding the state of your personal brand is as simple as running your name and province through a series of online searches. Results will be similar to those that a potential employer sees. As you analyze, put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter and look for anything that could throw up a red flag, for example, something that is inconsistent with your resume.
Your personal brand comes alive when you combine your personal attributes, strengths, and passions with your core value proposition – and then communicate that message effectively in your resume to your target audience. This is a central component to understanding what you have to offer, how you differentiate yourself from your peers, and what you are able to do to add value for your target company.
Personal branding, as it relates to this activity is a process of developing a message that is created around your name or your career. You can then apply this message to express and communicate your personal values, professional/personal skills, and personality.
Many people I talk to about this start off by telling me they don’t have a personal brand, they don’t understand what that is, only major corporations have brands..etc..however we all have the ability to be a brand and to harness our power to stand out, get noticed, and get hired. It is these unique qualities that draws people to what you have to offer – your message. Your personal brand should be about who you are and what you have to offer.
So, what do I say to people who say, but Ken, I don’t have a brand…or what do you mean…how can I get one of those….? Well, nature abhors a vacuum…so where there is no personal brand, you leave the other people the opportunity to create one for you..and it may not be all you had hoped. Never leave your unique message to others…take ownership of it, take accountability for this process of developing it and you’ll be able to craft a compelling personal brand capable of winning over the most intransigent of hiring managers. Your personal brand is what will make you stand out from your competition.
Why Personal Brand Matters
Along with your resume and cover letter, various bits of information lingering in cyberspace come together to create a sketch of your personality and attributes. They result in first impressions that can determine whether you will get the opportunity to compete for a position.
Personal brand also matters while employed, especially if you have a prominent position or work with a reputable local company. Showing you are comfortable with yourself is one of the most beneficial aspects of managing your personal brand. To many recruiters, this level of confidence can be irresistible.
Your personal brand can be an excellent way to share interests, opinions, and the ways you are preparing for the future. Those pieces of who you are do not normally come through on a formal resume or CV.
Managing a Personal Brand
Define how you want the world to see you. Do you want to be known as a conservative professional who studiously gets results or do you want to be seen as a gregarious marketing professional? Each of these types of brands has different needs.
Next, look at what is publicly visible on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Each platform offers some control over how your information shows in search results. Account settings in Google and Facebook can control privacy and search engine visibility. The ‘public profile’ is what LinkedIn shares with search engines. Modify visibility to meet your needs, and delete content that is contrary to the image you wish to portray. Finally, update your profile pictures to display a professional headshot and proceed with a smart strategy about what to post.
Allow your personal brand to develop with you, naturally. As you learn new things and take on new interests, share your findings. Be proud of the steps you take to improve and advance, even if it is in contrast to something you did before.
Bringing your resume in line with your personal brand is also especially important if you are in search of a new position.
Ken Docherty is a Certified Master Resume Writer, Certified Executive Resume Master, Certified Professional Resume Writer. Ken is a multi international award-winning resume writer, experienced executive recruiter, and former employment agency owner.
Ken developed and currently runs the Ignite Your Career Now series of online courses.