Personal branding is closely linked to career development, but many people do not see this connection. Think about the steps you take when you want to look for a new job. Do you polish and update your resume? Call colleagues or recruiters? How about add new details to your LinkedIn profile? While all of these tactics are great strategies, one overlooked tactic is to define your personal branding. I’ve written before about the power of branding and how to launch your personal branding strategy, but I want to focus this discussion on how to relate your personal branding to your career.
A well-sculpted personal branding strategy can profoundly change your life. Personal branding can support your career by allowing you to establish yourself as a thought leader and helping you to focus clearly on your goals. A person who has clearly outlined their values, goals and ambitions has a head start on their career development. Here are a few simple ways to leverage your personal brand for your career.
First, outline your own values and goals. To help you define your goals, envision yourself at the top level of success. How does a thought leader in your industry spend their work and free time? If you had to guess, what would you imagine are their goals and values? Let’s say that you want to be a thought leader in the marketing industry. Who are the leaders in your field? Have they spoken about their goals or values in previous media interviews or company statements? Do they belong to any clubs or organizations? Mimic their behavior and think as if you are already associated with a massive brand.
Second, pinpoint what makes you unique. Your uniqueness will help you shape the focus of your personal branding. Every successful thought leader has a personal brand—Oprah Winfrey is known for her business savvy and openness, Richard Branson is known for his strong sense of creativity and Steve Jobs was known for his attention to detail. Position yourself by figuring out your uniqueness and showcasing your talents in ways that will attract others. Then, be consistent in your behaviors and interactions with others. Branding strategist Jessica Kupferman wrote that “Consistency is key…A good brand is really only as good as its ability to be recognized.”
Third, a personal brand is all about YOU! Mark your territory online once your brand has been developed. You can do this by setting up a website just for your brand. It can be as simple as “YourName.com.” The website will become your home, and it is a place where you share who you are, how you serve others and where you share your message. Using a personal website is the best way I know to build an authentic presence that connects with others.
One of the highlights of my work in social media marketing is helping business leaders build and refine their personal brands. It is common for many leaders to be surprised that the development of a personal brand helped to provide them with a new sense of clarity about their career.