Back in the 1980s when I first started working, you got a job and the chances are that you could stay in that organisation for the rest of your career, progressing up the ladder. Now, times have changed and gone is the job for life. Today’s new worker is expected to have a total of 9 jobs across their career span compared to 5 for those of their grandparents’ generation. Only 1.5% of today’s new worker will stay in the same job for the total of their career.
With today’s workers expected to change job on average every 5 years, you can’t get complacent and need to keep yourself marketable if you are to get ahead. This includes developing your personal brand.
Even though you are working for an employer, view yourself as being in business. You are in the business of you and your career is your business. Like a business, you need a long term vision, you need a plan setting out how you will achieve this vision and you need to be able to grow, develop and adapt along the way.
Having a long term career vision and goals means that in the event of setbacks such as job loss or restructuring, it is easier for you to get back on track because you are clear about what you want to achieve.
Businesses constantly need to work on their marketing if they are to remain current and relevant. They need to have a brand that enables them to stand out from the crowd. The same goes for you in your career.
In a competitive market, what makes you stand out from the crowd? What makes you so special that someone will give you the job you long for or the promotion you desire?
Developing your personal brand will enable employers to see what you stand for, what your qualities are and what difference you can make to the organisation and the position that is being offered.
"Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room"
– Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com
Many women are not sure what their personal brand is, why they need to be concerned about it, or they don’t know what is meant by the term personal brand. The above quote from Jeff Bezos nicely sums it up. Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
What do people say about you when you’re not in the room? Is this what you want to be known for? Do you even know what they say?
The following 6 tips will help you to develop and define your personal brand so that you are clear about what it is.
What do you stand for?
Your values go to the core of who you are and they define what matters to you most of all, who you are and what it is that you stand for. Do you know what your values are?
Be clear about what your values are, make sure that you live your values and be able to articulate them.
If this is something that you have never done before, a values elicitation exercise will help you with this.
Get feedback from others
If you want to know what people say about you when you are not in the room, get feedback. Ask 5-10 of your colleagues, friends, family how they would describe you as a person? What are your qualities? What is it that they like about you? What is it that they are not keen on and why?
The way that we see ourselves is not often how others see us. Although you may see yourself as an Angelina Jolie type person who, despite her celebrity status has a humanitarian side to her, others may see you as a diva like Kim Kardashian who is reported to be rude to just about everyone when the cameras are turned off. Kardashian allegedly refuses to take pictures with fans or give them her autograph.
If you get feedback that is not favourable, don’t be dismayed or upset. Use it to increase your self awareness about the impact your behaviour has on others. If you don’t like what you hear, modify your behaviour. Remember that is how people perceive you.
In reality, the women I work with are very modest and tend to view themselves less favourably than how others do so they are pleasantly surprised at the feedback they get.
What are your strengths?
What are the things that you are good at? What skills do you have? How are you utilising your strengths and skills? How are they displayed in the way that you work and the way that you conduct yourself?
Identify your strengths and your skills and be able to clearly articulate them and how you use them.
The way you look?
Although we should never judge a book by its cover, the reality is, this is not always the case. Like it or not, a person will most likely make a judgement about you in the first few seconds of meeting you. This judgement is often made before you have even opened your mouth and is based on what they see. They will form an opinion of you just by how you look on the outside.
If you want to make a good first impression and be known for a certain attire, then your image needs to represent this.
Be yourself and be true to who you are. Don’t try and be something that you are not. People will see through that. Whether you are an introvert or an extravert, be proud of what you are. Whether you are a compassionate person or someone who likes adventure, don’t try and act as if this is not you.
Of course, you will need to moderate your behaviour so that it is acceptable to the environment that you are in.
Applying these tips will help you to form your personal brand. Once your personal brand is defined and you are able to articulate it, live it and own it. Let it become what people say about you when you are not in the room.
What is your story?
What is your personal story and how does it shape who you are today? What value does your previous experience bring to what you have to offer? Does your story create interest in you? How does your story differentiate you from others?
All of the previous points feed in to your personal story which represents your personal brand. How can you articulate this succinctly whilst creating an emotional connection that lets others believe that you can make a difference that will positively impact them?
What does personal brand mean to you? Are you clear about yours and can you articulate it or do you need to do some work to define it? I would love to hear so please share your comments below.