Regardless of whether you are a business owner or employee, you are a business of one in today’s economy. Your skills and expertise are the services you provide, and your customer is your employer.
As with any business, you want to be able to obtain a new customer-employer any time your situation changes. Maybe you are looking to move, expand your family, or perhaps you are just so sick and tired of being sick-and-tired at your current job that you will do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g to leave it. Whatever the reason, creating and maintaining a personal brand will speed up the process of getting you there.
A personal brand is your reputation or the perception of you held by the external world. In addition to your experience, a personal brand helps those assessing you determine if they should hire you or do business with you.
No matter where you are on your career journey, you don’t want to leave that reputation to chance. You can create a personal brand that communicates the attributes you wish to be known for, just like any other business.
A personal brand consists of 3 main elements:
A personal brand statement is a 2-3 sentence statement used to communicate your value in the marketplace. An effective statement answers these 4 questions for network partners, potential employers, and customers:
Here’s an example:
Hi, I’m Toya Gavin, and I am a career coach. I help talented lawyers with career transitions so that they can finally feel fulfilled in their legal careers. Through my career transitions program, I use coaching to help my clients create the 21st-century legal career their dreams. Right now, I’m looking to connect with lawyers who are ready to take the reins of their career and really take steps toward doing work they love.
Your persona is the aspect of your character that is presented to or perceived by others. Sometimes what you believe you are presenting to the outside world in terms of your character, interests, and attributes may not be what they are receiving. But in creating a personal brand, you must know both. You want to be clear on the aspects of your character that you want to present AND how others perceive those aspects.
There are tons of personality assessments from Meyers Briggs to Find Your Strengths to help you hone in on your persona. So there is no shortage of ways to learn more about yourself. And this Positive Psychology article has one of the best round-ups of evaluations out there if you are looking to find out more.
Now that you have a brand statement and an idea of the attributes, skills, and interests you want to communicate in the marketplace, it’s time to create a plan to do just that.
The key to communicating your brand value is consistency. You want to leverage social media and the internet to make sure that your attributes, skills, values, and interest are up-to-date and clear to anyone looking you up.
You do this by regularly creating and posting online content (blog posts, social media posts, videos, etc.) that demonstrate these attributes.
Here are some ideas:
To avoid overwhelm, think about what platform best fits your lifestyle and choose one to focus on when communicating your personal brand to the world.
Have you ever considered using social media for more than just posting life updates? What are your thoughts on using it to communicate your personal? Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.