Did you know the word brand comes from the Viking to “burn”? Over time the word moved on to “brand” cattle (see the connection with burning). Onward to imprinting your printed brand in the 19th century. Needless to say a bit of useless information you will probably never use again.
However, we are awash with brands today, from Google, Nike, Microsoft & Apple etc influencing the way we act and buy stuff. With all that in mind can we “brand” ourselves and our careers?
Taking the lead from marketing and consumer psychology, with a little thought you can create your own distinct personal career brand. The personal career brand can help your clarity and to focus & motivate your career planning. The idea then is to create a unique personal value brand that showcases who you are, and more to the point, what you bring to the party. A good personal career brand associates you with your purpose, career vision, motivations, drives, passions and shows that you stand for something clear and unambiguous. Thus highlighting the benefits and specialism you will bring over and above just being able to do the job.
What people say about you
Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon states that “your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room“. Needless to say, you want people to say positive things about you when you are not in the room. Principally then it’s all about your reputation. So being clear about who you are and what you bring is a great start to begin to be noticed and most of all remembered.
Your powerful personal brand starts with a package that has to be authentic and about you. Or put another way based on who you are, your talents, values, purpose and what drives you forward. Your achievements, legacies and the benefit you bring to people and a business. However, one criticism aimed at career branding is the commodification of you and your talents. You are obviously not a product to buy and sell. Though if we take the elements of marketing and apply them to the benefits and features of your particular talents; it helps to focus objectively on where we add value to the role.
Its all about your value and your reputation
With this model, you can start presenting a set of ideas, shaped by your actions that is demonstrated by your visual and verbal style. So everything you do promotes these ideas, values and career purpose. All this helps you to present yourself either through your CV (there are many styles of CV to consider depending upon your industry sector), social media, face to face conversations or at an interview. Thus creating the impression you want to project in the minds of people when your name is mentioned.
Your own career brand is your chance to focus on what you do best and everything that makes you what you are. This may seem a little abstract to think about the way big brands differentiate their products and what they stand for. No harm taking a leaf out of their book for a change. Your personal career brand differentiates you in a crowded employment market, and of course helping you to be memorable for recruiters and remembered for your great reputation.
Your Personal Career Brand
So how is a personal career brand created and is it entirely necessary for your career? It may not be for everyone of course. However, even if the elements are used for an interview or presentation, this will no doubt help employers understand more about you. Most of all remember you over and above the comedy tie, you wore at the interview. NB please do not wear comedy ties or socks to an interview…………..ever!
So to get you thinking in terms of career brand here are a few pointers to get you started.
Your Personal Career Brand Checklist:
Determine your brand attributes –
Understand the unique skills and talents you have and how they can be used in your career. Pay special attention to those attributes that clearly differentiate you from other people. Begin to focus on your achievements and successes that identify you. These are aspects of your career and how they helped you prosper. Perhaps ask some friends or colleagues you trust to state what they think you are about and the strong values you represent in your career. Take a leaf out of how big brands do this, look at their strategies and what techniques they use.
Create your career vision –
One way to get started with your vision is to think about one world problem you would like to see solved or one area of your life/work/business that you want to see transformed or improved. This then is your vision. Your vision is external and what you see is possible in your career and the world. On the flip side your purpose is internal and the role you can play in helping employers and recruiters to understand your career vision.
Develop your brand and build your career purpose –
Based on the results from above decide exactly which attributes are your strongest, most credible and most well-differentiated. These attributes, values or strengths have the greatest potential for producing benefits that connect you with your target audience. Begin to think about how you would summarise your unique value and purpose in just a brief phrase (like a tagline). For many, their brand platform is a website with supporting marketing materials or perhaps a blog. Connect to social media and business networking sites and showcase your talents, strengths and value you bring.
Consider a word or a phrase that sums your career brand up –
GE for example state they stand for “invention, innovation, imagination at work“. Nike is associated with winners and champions etc so what do you value from your achievements and successes? What will the person listening to you feel and remember when you tell them about you – are you believable? Remember its what your target audience thinks that counts.
Deploy your personal career brand –
Let people know you exist by communicating your personal career brand message with clarity, consistency and the regularity of your posts. Attend networking events, write articles, comment on blogs, connect with people you want to influence on social networks, etc. Start to view the brand platforms you use as the launching pad for your brand message.
Align CV and online presence with the career brand –
You can have more than one brand or CV depending upon the type of role or roles you are looking for. Resist any urge to add every experience and activity that you have ever done. Target five clear statements about what you have done go to that support the job title you are pursuing. Ensure that your social media platforms reflect your career brand so everything joins up into a cohesive picture of who you are. Listen to what organisations you would like to work for are looking for and align your message to them. Linking successes you’ve had in the past to a goal they are trying to achieve for example.
Share your expertise, promote and maintain your personal career brand–
Join LinkedIn groups, share ideas on Twitter & Facebook and share your knowledge to raise your personal profile. Make yourself visible to online recruiters and keep a watchful eye of your profile, who is noticing you and help them see the benefits of knowing you. Consider this as part of your routine for maintaining your brand.
Of course, there is more to this and you than meets the eye. These are tried and tested techniques that I use with my private clients. This method helps externalise career transitions and to understand what they stand for at work better. The brand metaphor helps people move into careers that satisfy and align them their own values better. Therefore helping them to be more satisfied and fulfilled with what they do.
A career brand can be best summed up as your face into business and career opportunities. It’s your message when you are not there, your reputation and your promotion of authentic value. Your career brand then projects a clear and marketable proposition to the employer and recruiters that is coupled with a history of visible accomplishment & success. So nothing to lose but all to gain by creating your own personal brand. Call us or email for more information about creating your career brand; to help you to become happy and fulfilled in what you do.
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