Why your personal brand is essential for your career success

Personal branding is the art and science of how you present yourself so people remember you. It’s important to create and manage your personal brand in today’s digital age.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” 

— Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder

Your personal brand is how you communicate the value of you: skills, ability, and knowledge.

It’s your lens of how you see the world. It’s is critical to career success.

What is a personal brand?

Your personal brand is how you promote yourself. It is the combination of your skills, experience, and personality of how you want the world to see you.

It’s the way you tell your personal story. It’s how you behave and speak. Your personal brand is what you stand for — your values, beliefs, and attitudes.

It is about communicating who you are and what’s like to know you.

  • Are you able to offer quality info, thoughts, and insights about the world?
  • Do you do it with a sense of authority?
  • Are you consistent?

Why should you care about personal branding?

When you have a strong personal brand, people will want to get to know you and help you. It attracts like-minded people to you.

Branding yourself keeps you relevant in your chosen career field. It opens up more doors for you. It provides you with opportunities you may not even be aware of.

A personal brand improves your reputation with the kind of people you want to know and work with.

Richard Branson is the poster boy of personal branding.

  • He is a billionaire business person.
  • He is a shining example of what a personal brand can do for your career and your professional fortunes.
  • He built a powerful personal brand by being himself: playful and fun.

This has helped him become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.

“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.”

— Richard Branson, a businessman and author

If you are looking to emulate someone on LinkedIn, Richard is someone you should follow. He is one of the most followed professionals on LinkedIn.

What are the key benefits of a personal brand?

It is critical to your career success for five key reasons.

1. You are more visible online

The more visible you are, the greater the spotlight shines on you. You’ll be more visible when people search for content you publish or search for your bio.

“Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your ‘blind’ date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.”

— Tim Ferriss, an entrepreneur, investor, and author

2. You stand apart from the crowd

When you can build a reliable personal brand, your story will break through the clutter and noise. You’ll be noticeable and different from others.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

— Warren Buffet, an investor and business tycoon

3. You become a thought leader

Your personal brand will help you become an information concierge. People will come to you for your opinion and thoughts. You will become a go-to person in your industry and field of study.

“A thought leader is someone who creates something before people realize they need it.”

— Guy Kawasaki, an author and venture capitalist

4. You are more trusted

Your personal brand explains why you do what you do. What drives and motivates? When you are genuine and authentic, people trust you.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”

―Simon Sinek, an author and motivational speaker

5. You differentiate yourself

Your personal brand is your competitive edge that separates you from others.

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

— Oscar Wilde, an Irish poet and playwright

It allows you to build more trust with your colleagues, helps you grow your network, and enables you find your next job.

How to build your personal brand

A modern personal brand has a strong foundation in content marketing such as writing Medium stories and producing YouTube videos. It’s also about sharing content and ideas via social media.

Here are some short-term and long-term ways to build your personal brand (and actions you should take to make it happen).

Quick wins

You can do these things right away and help you set up your personal brand.

1. Find out what search engines are saying about you and “clean up” what you see

The first place to start with your personal brand, especially online, is to find out what others are saying about you. What information comes up first in the search engines about you?If you don’t like what you see, you “erase yourself” from the internet.

Some websites are easy while others are almost impossible. For example, social networks such as Twitter are easy to drop while others like Pinterest are almost impossible.

Actions to take

Learn how to correctly Google yourself and visit justdelete.me

2. Protect yourself from cyber-squatters

Is your name available on important social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook? Did you secure your personalized URL on LinkedIn? Is someone impersonating you online?

Action to take

Visit namechk.com

3. Create an online presence

A blog and your Medium profile are great ways to show your personal brand. They help you grow your network beyond your work colleagues, show others you know how to write and communicate (skills your current and potential future employer value).

Action to take

Create a blog and/or launch a Medium publication

Ongoing maintenance

You should do these three things so you can keep your personal brand fresh and up-to-date.

1. Set up a monitoring alert system

It’s important to find out what others are saying about you online. One of the best ways to do that is create a Google Alert.

When you create an alert, make sure you put your name with and without quotation marks. You should also include the misspelling of your name in a separate alert.

Action to take

Set up Google Alerts

2. Create your elevator pitch

Like a company brand creates its elevator pitch of who the company is, why it is unique and different, and why you should care, the same goes with your personal brand.

A good example of where you should have your elevator pitch down is your LinkedIn summary section or your bio page on your blog. That paragraph or two should sum up your personal brand in a short, concise, and compelling way.

Action to take

Learn how to give an elevator pitch

3. Build your personal board of directors

Ask for feedback from your friends, family, colleagues, and others to give you feedback about your personal brand.

As you gain more work and life experiences, your brand changes to say who you are at work and in life.It’s important to build a feedback loop with friends, family, colleagues and others you trust to help you polish and refine it.

Action to take

Build your own personal board of directors

Creating your personal brand won’t happen overnight

It’s important to remember that building your personal brand won’t happen overnight. It takes hard work. It’s important that you remember the following:

Be patient

As the adage says “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes time to create great things. It will take a while to develop it. You are unlikely to experience overnight success.

“Trust the process. Your time is coming. Just do the work and the results will handle themselves.”

— Tony Gaskins, a motivational speaker and author

Be consistent

It’s critical that you are consistent and don’t flip-flop on your messages. Consistency is the difference between failure and success. It creates accountability, makes you relevant, and allows for measurement.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”

— Dwayne Johnson, an actor, producer, and retired professional wrestler

Be authentic

Honesty and transparency are key factors in setting yourself apart. It will make sure that others have a strong want to collaborate with you today and in the future.

“You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are.”

— Amy Poehler, an actress and comedian

Being transparent is easier than being honest. If you want to earn trust, you must be authentic. People need to see that your personal brand is honest and worthy of their trust.

Bringing it all together

Whether you like it or not, you have a personal brand.

The key is to do something about it. Like a company builds their brand by articulating their unique value proposition, you should do the same with your personal brand. It will boost your reputation and motivate others to want to get to know you.

Be proactive about managing your online reputation. Your reputation is everything. Know what people are saying about you and mold that into something positive and powerful.

A successful personal brand will help you excel in your career and in life. It will help you reach your goals and make a positive impact.

It is more than your job. It’s your career and life.

It is the brand called you.

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