Personal Branding: Make Yourself Your Own Marketing Tool
October 13, 2011 by Careerminds
It sounds like the ramblings you’d expect from some sort of spiritual guru in white robes, your mother or maybe even your old grade school teacher: be yourself. But, the truth of the matter is, regardless of who you hear it from, it’s pretty solid advice that professional development experts stand behind just as steadfastly as mom does.
Your personal brand is what makes you unique in the eyes of a possible employer, and fully embracing your personal brand as a part of your everyday life can put you on the right path to finding the right position and feeling fulfilled overall. Take these tips and tricks into account when building and marketing your personal brand, and you will become your own best selling point.
- There is Only One Self: Professional development and training expert Gina Rudan explains that many people see themselves as two different people: the personal self and the professional self. The trouble here is that these two selves should ideally be the same thing—your personal brand is all-encompassing. Both your hard assets (strengths, skills, expertise) often associated with the professional and your soft assets (creativity, values, passions) should work in combination to present you as a complete package.
- Engage Others: Mark Twain famously noted that, “Most conversations are monologues in the presence of witnesses,” but well-branded individuals know that isn’t the way to hold onto anyone’s attention. Keep or get people interested in your personal brand by engaging yourself with them, and they’ll return the favor. Take a genuine interest in others; it is your mission to understand them as much as it is your mission to have them understand you. Consider all of your encounters, both personal and professional to be two-way streets, and you’ll find others are much more willing to learn about and respect your brand.
- Know Your Opposite: Yes, it is vital to know who you are and how you position yourself as a brand, but it is equally important to recognize who you are not. Who is not your audience? You can’t be expected to please everyone, so do your research on prospective employers and yourself and make some comparisons. What networks should you not spend your time on? Not every networking group and website will serve you equally well. Find the ones that will help you get to the people you really want to be associated with and the decision makers you need to be associated with. And, lastly, know your competitors. They are absolutely what you are not, and you need to be able to differentiate yourself from them so your unique brand is obvious to potential employers.
With the job market in its current state, your personal points of differentiation can be your most valuable assets. The competition for one position is fiercer than ever, and job seekers need to find something to set themselves apart from the pack. Luckily, one of the best ways to do that is to do what you’ve been told since childhood: be yourself. Construct an authentic personal brand and use yourself as your own marketing tool.
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