There are many misconceptions about personal branding, what it is, and what actually goes into an authentic personal brand statement. In principle, it’s a statement that represents you, your career reputation and what you stand for. When used for career development, the term “brand” is utilised as a metaphor for creating a compelling narrative, to showcase the value you bring your role.
Clearly, you are not a “thing” or a product to be marketed. However, there are marketing similarities that can help you define the value you bring to the employer. Your personal brand statement is not an anaemic job description stringing together your functional areas of expertise. We have all read the long list of strengths, skills, knowledge and abilities that leave us cold and thinking, well, anyone can say that. Instead, your personal brand statement represents your promise of value to your current and subsequent roles, to generate the environment necessary to make it a success.
So what do you stand for in your career?
Firstly, we all have a personal brand, or more to the point, a reputation at work. Everyone is known for their own unique set of abilities, attributes, strengths, what drives them at work and in life. Maybe you haven’t thought about the defining characteristics in this way. However, it’s a way to differentiate yourself from everyone else in the crowd. We have to accept that if we are applying for a job or promotion, for example, we are in competition with our peers and other job seekers. Therefore, you are likely to have similar sets of skills and qualification to the other candidates. As a result, we need to find that cutting edge to help you make you and your CV stand out and be noticed.
Building your brand statement
To put your personal brand to work for you and perhaps your job search, you’ll need to pull together all the pieces that make up your value proposition. This will be a representation and, in the end, a vibrant personal brand statement to promote your true value to the business. The statement will make it easier for those assessing you, and to get an indication of whether you will be a good fit for their organisation.
Allringh enough of the preamble, let’s have a go at putting some of the parts of your personal brand statement together. Here are a few questions to uncover and craft a clear personal brand message that will resonate with your target audience. Take the time to think about differentiating yourself when you’re working on them:
1. What drives your purpose and what do you care deeply about?
Think about the activities, interests, situations, and challenges that excite and energise you. Your drives and motivators are the part of your career or work that you get you up in the morning, and the tasks you that you do well and enjoy. How do your drives, motivators and sense of purpose converge? What do you do that can identify the value you offer to your present (and perhaps next) company? What problems do you solve, or how do you improve processes at work?
2. What are your top 3 personal attributes – aspects that define how you make things happen at work?
Consider how those around you (at work and elsewhere) describe you. Perhaps think about the quote attributed to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos about defining your brand or reputation i.e.“What people say about you when you are not in the room?” Ask trusted colleagues for feedback about these things and what perhaps you are best known for. To give you an idea, here are some possible attributes, though don’t limit yourself to these:
Collaborative, resourceful, empathetic, flexible, forward-thinking, connected, visionary, diplomatic, intuitive, precise, enterprising, ethical, genuine, accessible.
3. What are your greatest strengths & top motivated skills that have benefited your company/employers?
Again, think about what those around you have said about you. How do they introduce you to others? Here are some possible areas of strength at work:
Identifying problems, detail orientated, a leader, delegating, performing analysis, fact-finding, anticipating risk, motivator, mentor, innovator, manage conflict, listening, communicating.
4. What differentiates you from your competition for your next job?
A recent client, who is a director at a major pharmaceutical company, identified a sense of humour as a top personal brand attribute. Relying on an engaging sense of humour to unify teams, make things happen, and calm fiery situations. Knowing this trait was a critical part of his value proposition.
Here’s how we brought it all together in a personal brand statement:
“A focused, agile and determined business leader. I offer the entrepreneurial stamina, and acumen to drive growth and lucrative business and inspire people to peak performance. Cultivating profitable business relationships that are built on respect, loyalty, and most of all trust. My sense of humour has been a defining management strategy to bring out the best in everyone, instil pride, and mobilise people to make our business the best in the industry.”
How much is reputation worth?
No doubt you care about what people say about you and your reputation at work. You care about your career and what it means to you personally. Therefore, your personal brand statement should become part of your online and offline career marketing communication. At the top of your CV/resume or career bio and in your online profiles. Perhaps incorporate your tag line in an email signature, though this much self-promotion may not be for everyone of course. Remember you are looking for authenticity and congruence in everything you say and do in terms of career promotion. Hence taking time to find your voice and style at work in your career is part of the personal brand.
Of course, there is more to the business of creating an authentic personal brand and defining what you stand for than meets the eye. The method mentioned above helps externalise career transitions and to understand what we stand for at work better. Perhaps check out my web page here that goes into more detail on how to define your brand and achieve a reputation to be proud of. The brand metaphor helps people identify and to 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 at different life stages.
A personal 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 motivators with a history of visible, legacy, accomplishment & success. So nothing to lose but all to gain by creating your own authentic 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.