One of the most important tools for advancing your career is defining and using your personal brand. A brand is your vision of who you are and what you do for your audiences. It is a message that distinguishes you from your competition by expressing what makes you unique and memorable, so that your target audience connects with you emotionally and wants to work with you.
Defining your personal brand is simple using this 7-step process:
1. What are your vision and purpose?
Look externally at the bigger picture of your vision for the world, and then internally at how you might help the world realize your vision.Think about one world problem you would like to see solved or one area of life that you want to see transformed or improved. This is your vision.What role might you play in making your vision happen? This is your purpose.
2. What are your values?
Your values are your guiding principles – things like:Balance, being the best, agility, calmness, challenge, decisiveness, perseverance, drive, honesty, integrity, pragmatism, sensitivity, structure, teamwork, sharing, vitality, zeal.
3. What are your passions?
What do you most enjoy doing – in your personal life and work life? Think about the activities, interests, or conversational topics that fascinate and energize you. Your passions make you get out of bed at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning or get you talking enthusiastically with others. How do your passions converge with what you are best at doing?
4. What are your top goals for the next year, 2 years, and 5 years?
Work on projecting what you intend to accomplish so you can put together a strategic action plan to get there.
5. What are your top brand attributes?
What 3 or 4 adjectives best describe the value you offer? What words do you use to define your personality?
Once you pinpoint what you feel are the right kinds of words, it’s a good idea to consult a thesaurus to precisely nail the exact words. Here are some possibilities, but don’t limit yourself to these:Collaborative, resilient, forward-focused, risk-taking, connected, international, visionary, diplomatic, intuitive, precise, enterprising, ethical, genuine, accessible.
6. What are your core strengths or motivated skills?
In what functions and responsibilities do you excel? For what things are you the designated “go-to” person? What gap would your company be faced with if you left suddenly? The possibilities are endless, but here are a few suggestions:Analyzing, collaborating, leading, delegating, empowering others, forecasting, crunching numbers, anticipating risk, mentoring, visioning, selling, innovating, managing conflict, defining needs, writing, listening, communicating.
7. Who is your competition in the marketplace and what differentiates you from them?
What do the people competing for the same jobs as you typically have to offer? What is it about you that makes you the best hiring choice? What added value do you bring to the table that no one else does?
The work involved in uncovering and defining your personal brand may seem daunting, but your efforts will benefit you immeasurably. In your job search, defining and using your personal brand can help pre-qualify you as a good fit and strategically position you to land your next great gig faster…