Brand identity isn’t just vital for corporations; it’s also critical for anyone hoping to advance their career path. Many advancement opportunities aren’t based on what you know but on who you know. Building a great personal brand will put you in the industry spotlight, which is a recipe for career success!
What it Means to Have a Personal Brand
Chances are, people in your industry already have a good idea of what you do. However, that doesn’t mean they know who you are. That’s where your personal brand comes in: it shows employers that you have the skills, motivation, and means to put them to great use.
After a certain point, employers want to know what unique assets of yours will help drive the company forward, rather than just the skills you’re able to provide. You can have an impressive collection of soft skills and industry experience, but so can anyone else if they’re given enough training and time.
Good companies don’t just want employees who mindlessly do what they’re told: they want leaders, creatives, and others who can serve key roles in business operations, whether they’re long-term or day-to-day.
Many workers believe that reputation is part of their personal brand. It’s true that reputation is important in the workplace; after all, potential employers and colleagues will be wary of someone who’s been labeled rude or a slacker.
However, having a great reputation doesn’t mean you have a great brand. You can ask all your coworkers what they think of you, and they can all say that you’re a great employee; ask someone else in your field, however, and they very well might say, “Who?”
Why Your Personal Brand is Important
At its core, your brand identity is what distinguishes you from everyone else in your field. By tackling multiple common career-building hurdles, it helps you paint a clearer picture of you to anyone you might be working with.
It lets you tell your story
Have you ever looked up your name using a search engine? If you’re lucky, the results are mundane and won’t make anyone look twice. The less fortunate, however, might discover results that aren’t quite so neutral: you could be graced with tales of your teenage misbehavior or the unprofessional social media accounts of someone who shares your name.
Developing your personal brand helps you turn that around and improve what others see. You aren’t just your LinkedIn profile or a mention in an aging newspaper article; you’re whatever you can provide. Even if you can’t erase less-than-stellar results, you’ll make a better impression with a well-written blog than with archived news articles about your young adult escapades.
It shows what you value and believe in
Career advancement is difficult for those who appear to be motivated by the paycheck. Establishing your brand shows others in your field what interests you, what’s important to you in your career, and what inspires you to do your best. This means you’ll take some initiative, which is always a good sign for employers.
It helps you network
Having a strong presence in your field or industry means that more people are likely to know who you are and what you bring to the table. If you have more business connections, more people who would “put in a good word” about you to their higher-ups, and more people who have “heard good things about you,” it opens up doors for new opportunities and career advancements you might not have anticipated.
It helps you grow personally and professionally
Any new employee (whether new to the workforce or new to the field) might be expected to lack confidence or fade into the background, but it’s not unique to them; even long-term workers can struggle with this.
Establishing a strong personal brand can greatly help with recognizing your good qualities, feeling comfortable standing out, and bouncing back from setbacks. That can build your confidence not just in your professional life but in your personal life too.
Strategies to Build Your Brand
While establishing your brand identity is important, the process of doing so isn’t always intuitive. Start by figuring out what your brand truly is, then build it up with a multifaceted approach.
Establish your core values
Creating a personal brand can be the trickiest part of the process. However, the most strong and stable brand identities are rooted in your core values and beliefs. To figure out your beliefs, ask yourself:
- Where do my skills lie?
- What motivates me?
- What do I enjoy? What interests me?
- Who are my role models? What traits do they share?
- How can I help potential clients?
- What do I want to accomplish in my career?
Once you’ve established your core values, there’s one more question left to ask:
- How can this suit my role and industry?
Many traits can be melded into all sorts of personal brands. Maybe you could be the problem-solver, the researcher, or the creative.
Have a strong online presence
You probably know it’s important to clean up your social media profiles in case your employer sees it, but did you know that your activity can help you establish your brand, too? Your social media feeds provide an opportunity to showcase your talents and perspectives and plenty of opportunities for professional networking.
It doesn’t stop at social media, however. There are many digital means to establish your brand, including blog posts, YouTube videos, and personal portfolios. Get creative!
You can’t passively establish your brand identity; other people need to know who you are to understand what you’re capable of. Reach out to other professionals in your field and offer to work together somehow: for instance, you might tackle tricky projects together or swap ideas for a new development in your industry.
This can be tough, especially if you’re introverted or inexperienced, but it’s crucial for building your network and gaining experience.
The workplace is ever-changing, and that means your personal brand will evolve with it. Over time, you may need to develop new skills, expand into new areas, and modify your definition of your brand. It can be jarring, but it helps to take it in stride. A little flexibility can go a long way.
Take the Next Step in Your Career with JobsFuel
Building a strong brand identity takes time and experience. JobsFuel helps you gain that experience by assisting your job search and showing you all relevant available positions. Getting a new job isn’t only a career opportunity; it’s also an opportunity to work on your personal brand.