Your training contract gives you the first taste of the working world, and with it comes several invaluable lessons – including the importance of personal branding in building your career. Personal branding is how you market and package yourself as a professional; but more than that, it’s also how people see you and connect with you.
There are a number of factors that make up your personal brand: the way you dress and speak, and how you react in various situations. It’s also a combination of small, and seemingly inconsequential things, such as responding timeously and politely to emails, phone calls and messages; arriving at meetings and interviews on time; and even body language and the tone you use when speaking to people – remember that how you say something (even non-verbally) is often more important than what you say.
These kinds of behaviour can be easy to overlook as they form such an innate part of who you are, but that is exactly where the power of personal branding lies. It starts with your personal values, what is important to you, what your beliefs are and how you see the world.
Being consistent and living those values on a daily basis is what gives you credibility. It’s about being aware of what your attitude is toward life and how you deal with situations, both good and bad. Ultimately, it’s your unique promise of value and how you project yourself that underpins your personal brand.”
Many people are not sure about how to go about creating their own unique personal brand. If you’re one of those people, try answering the following questions:
ü Who are you and what do you stand for?
ü What would you like people to say about you when you leave the room?
ü What is your USP (Unique Selling Point) – in other words, what makes you stand out?
ü What is your purpose or role in your professional and personal lives?
ü What are you passionate about and do you make time to get involved in what you love?
ü Do you volunteer your time, talents and skills to a worthy cause?
ü Are you continually investing in your personal and professional growth?
ü Are you using your networks to grow your brand and allowing these networks to help you create new opportunities?
Use the answers to these questions to help you live your personal brand on a daily basis. Never forget that every interaction leaves an impression, so work to leave the impression that you want others to have of you.
Living in today’s digitally driven environment also requires you to manage your brand both on and offline. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Never forget that your brand is on show 24/7, so guard it and nurture it.
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