TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Whether you are just getting started in your career or working your way up the corporate ladder, building a personal brand should be a big part of your career strategy. You may not think of yourself as a brand, but modern employers definitely do. If you do not have a personal branding strategy, you could be missing out on a golden opportunity to advance your career and grow your earning power.
You can start working on your personal brand by taking a close look at your social media and web presence. In the modern business world, you should assume that all potential employers will Google your name, and it is important that they like what they see.
You do not have to scrub your Facebook page or completely withdraw from social media. In fact, not having a web presence at all can be damaging to your career. Just think before you post, and consider making your photos and posts private.
Being on social media in a responsible way is important to your brand, but having a personal website is just as critical. If you do not yet have your own website, now is the time to build one. The cost of web hosting has fallen sharply, and there are plenty of tools to help you build a great looking site. You do not have to be an HTML expert or a tech guru to have a great looking website.
Once the website is up and running, you can use it to host professional photos, blog posts, informative articles and other information that reflects well on your experience and expertise. You can also use your personal website to host an updated copy of your resume so employers will find something positive when they search for you online.
Always remember that your personal brand should be a genuine reflection of who you are and what you have to offer. Do not try to play a role or be who you think employers want to see. Your personal brand should not be a character you create — it should be a real reflection of your personality, your talents and your experience.
You may need to engage in a bit of self-reflection as you start building your personal brand. Think about the things that make you special and what you have to offer both personally and professionally. Reflect on how your past experience and expertise have prepared you for the next step in your career journey, and use that information to start building your brand.
Your personal brand should be targeted to the career goals you have in mind. Failing to focus your branding is a big mistake — and one that many people make. One of the goals of personal branding is to differentiate yourself from the thousands of other similar candidates. No matter how fancy your degree, there are many thousands of other people out there who have the same qualifications.
Your personal branding strategy should separate you from the herd and showcase your accomplishments. If you have an extensive professional background already, you can create a tightly focused brand that clearly shows what you have done and how you have helped past employers succeed. If you are a new graduate, you can include more biographical information in your branding strategy to demonstrate your expertise to would-be employers.
It is also important that your personal branding strategy meets the expectations of the field you want to get into. No matter what your ultimate career goals, it is important to do your homework and research the cultural norms of the industry. Some niches, like the investment and banking world, may look askance at candidates who do not fit their preconceived mold. Knowing what those expectations are and making sure your profile meets them can be a key part of building your personal brand.
Building a personal brand is an ongoing process, and your personal brand should grow with you. As your career advances and you gain more experience, you will need to update your website, social media presence and offline network. Being aware of your brand and how you are perceived by the outside world is an absolute must in the modern workplace — and the time to get started is NOW.
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