QUESTION: I’ve heard people talk about how personal branding is important in a job search. How do I figure out what my own personal brand is?
Your personal brand is expressed by your way of going in the workplace. Why do your supervisors turn to you?
What expertise do your peers seek from you? What unique insight do you offer? What are you passionate
about? How would you define your business philosophy? The answers to questions like these are the core of
your professional brand and define your value to employers.
Uncovering your own personal brand takes time and self-reflection. What’s unique about you that people notice? What personality traits got you hired in the past? What have colleagues, managers, clients, professors, etc. said about you? What do you do better than anyone else? These introspective questions can help you understand the core brand messages you want to convey.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. What do I want people to think of when they think of me?
2. What is my area of subject-matter expertise?
3. What kinds of problems do others seek me out to resolve?
Then, stick to your answers. Too many professionals try to be one size fits all and nothing about them stands out.
Draw your line in the sand and state…I am an expert in the ______ space!
First, add up your assets: (1) What you’re really good at; (2) how you differentiate yourself from other jobseekers; and (3) your personal values. Once you understand your assets, you can compose the message you want to convey. Be consistent with that message and you have your brand!
You have a personal brand whether you realize it or not. It’s how others perceive you based on your work ethic and the value you bring. If you take a moment to do some self-reflection, you will uncover some common themes in your background that ultimately defines who you are as a professional. Ask yourself what makes you unique, what you do well and how that translates into value for an employer.
Zeroing in on your area of expertise is key in identifying your brand and differentiating your skill set. Analyze your career successes to find the common thread. Do you bring people together? Are you an efficiency maven? Go beyond the results and look at the actions you took to solve these business challenges. Determine the consistency across your roles that led to effective solutions.
Figuring out your personal brand is indeed a challenging task and is not something you can do in half an hour. Ideally you will conduct a 360 degree review of your personality, skills, values, and interests. After you have done this groundwork, you will have to find the overlap and interface of these areas and bring it down to a consistent message.
Consider how you want to be viewed within your professional industry. Discover your top strengths through self-assessment tools. You might ask others where your strengths lie or defer to past performance reviews. Discover where your passions lie within your industry and market yourself as a subject-matter expert in these areas.
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