The Power of Personal Branding
What’s the difference between you and Jennifer Lawrence? No, I do not mean the obvious “She’s an actress and you’re not” answer. The difference is that Jennifer Lawrence manages her professional brand with a team of marketing and PR people, ensuring that every word, image, and interview is scripted, rehearsed, and controlled. She’s got a marketing machine behind her that costs her thousands of dollars. I’m going to make a quick assumption here that you do not.
You might argue “But I’m not famous, I’m not a company, I’m not a brand.” That’s where you are wrong. A brand is merely a representation of what you are. Your personal branding is reflected in everything you do, regardless if you are actively managing it or not. If you are not managing it, you have no control over how people perceive you.
Put that thought in context of your career. If you are not managing your brand – managing the way that hiring managers and decision makers see you – you have no control on how they perceive you as a candidate.
Sit on that for a moment longer.
There you go.
Your personal branding delivers the message of your value and the impact you can make for a prospective employer or client.
Do Employers Really Care About My Personal Brand?
CareerBuilder recently released a report that revealed that 70% of employers used social media to screen candidates. While your personal brand isn’t confined to the internet, it’s the easiest place to turn to in order to find out who you are.
Further shared in this report is a statement by Rosemary Haefner, CHRO at CareerBuilder:
“Most workers have some sort of online presence today– and more than half of employers won’t hire those without one. This shows the importance of cultivating a positive online persona. Job seekers should make their professional profiles visible online and ensure any information that could negatively impact their job search is made private or removed.”
How Do I Know If I Have a Good Personal Brand?
If you actually have to ask yourself that, chances are likely your branding is not as good as it could be. The good news is that you can start taking steps today to improve it.
First, you must understand what is included in your personal brand:
- Your professional behaviour
- The way you perform at work
- Your personal behaviour
- Your online behaviour
- The content you share online
- Your resume and cover letter
- The way you introduce yourself/your elevator pitch
- Your appearance
- The way you speak
Take my Personal Brand Status quiz to get you started. It will help to get you thinking on how you present yourself and how you connect with people.
Second, get a feel for what people find about you online: Google yourself! Document what you found and evaluate the message that it sends. If you’re up for it, ask a friend or colleague to Google you and report back.
How Do I Go From Good to Great?
The key to presenting a positive personal brand is to provide a consistent one that aligns with who you actually are. As much as the ‘fake until you make it’ theory can help, it can also hinder. There is nothing worse than getting in front of someone who has been led to believe you are something you aren’t only for them to discover just minutes into the conversation it’s all been a rouse.
There is a lot of noise out there on social media with everyone vying for a spot. You don’t have to be top dog. You just have to be real and show active evidence of your value in order to help you foster the relationships you require to help you move forward in your career. Authentic and powerful personal branding will help you do that.
Wondering if your personal brand has what it takes? Contact Melissa Mac for a Personal Brand Assessment and Social Media Audit.