Marketing is no longer just for the workplace. Whether you are an accomplished business owner or a recent graduate, your personal brand can make or break your career depending on how you care for and cultivate it. If you’re unsure of where to start, here are three simple steps to use as a guide:
- Know Your Brand – You might not judge a book by its cover, but potential employers and clients definitely do. This doesn’t mean you should plaster on a fake smile and agree with everyone – personality and being genuine are what set you apart from the crowd. Instead, strike a balance in the public eye and understand the difference between being outspoken and being offensive. Take time to learn your strengths (as well as your weaknesses), both in your profession and as a leader. Don’t be afraid of changing your brand from time to time either, evolution is natural as we grow in our industry and our life experience. It may take some time for all of the pieces to come together, but this step is essential to your brand. Overall, strive to appear confident, poised and engaged with your industry.
- Be Your Brand – Once you’ve decided what defines you as a brand, take it into action. Keeping an active, authentic presence on social media will aide you in your success. Find time to volunteer your skills towards causes and events that you are passionate about in your community. Know your worth, but dodge the line between being an expert and being condescending. These actions show your initiative and dedication as a leader in your field.
- Stay Connected – Your success begins at home, and your fellow professionals will be the first in line to support your business or accomplishments. Maintain your professional relationships – they are invaluable when applying for jobs and awards. There is always an opportunity to connect with strong, professional brands who share the same values and mission as your own. Connect with alumni groups, start a conversation with like-minded influencers on LinkedIn or attend industry-specific conferences. All of these options will keep you sharp and keep your foot in the door for new opportunities – you never know when you may need to start a new chapter.
Building your personal brand is an ongoing process that doesn’t stop until you’re retired. Just a few moments spent each week on maintaining your brand will improve your self-confidence and push you forward in your industry and community.