When you want to build a name for yourself, taking time to focus on your brand is crucial.
What is a personal brand? In short, it’s who you are, what you are good at, and what people go to you for. It’s your reputation and your unique set of skills, values, and strengths. Your personal brand represents your value to your target company.
In today’s digital world, boosting your brand is necessary if you are to keep up with the competition. Avoiding some common mistakes along the way will help you develop your brand and showcase your ROI to your target audience. You’re going to spend a lot of time shaping your brand no matter what, so you might as well do it right the first time.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
People can see right through a person when they aren’t authentic. You can optimize your LinkedIn profile to make yourself sound like an expert at everything, but that will only get you so far.
It’s possible to boost your brand without going overboard. Remember, you must be able to back up everything you say on your profile when you make connections in person. Exaggerating in your profile is, essentially, lying. Not only will this limit your opportunities, but it could also cause permanent damage to your career. It only takes one lie to ruin your reputation forever.
Is Your Message Clear?
In order to send a clear personal branding message, you have to know what you’re trying to say. Take time to understand your professional identity and the unique value you can offer to employers. Also, give people a glimpse into your future. What goals do you aim to reach along your career path? Creating the strongest personal brand requires complete alignment between your overall message and every aspect of your professional presence.
Don’t Forget to Target Your Audience
It doesn’t do your brand a lot of good if you don’t know to whom your brand should be marketed. When it comes to personal branding, you have to be able to connect with the right audience in order to make a name for yourself.
Research your target employers and professional connections. Understand their missions, values, and goals. Then, you can tailor your brand to reflect these things, thereby creating a personal connection between yourself and your audience.
Social Media Is Key
Many of my clients tell me they don’t want to deal with social media. It seems daunting, or tedious, just one more thing they “have to do.” Others simply don’t want their private lives “out there.”
First, you don’t have to worry about putting your personal business online. When you use LinkedIn, you are only telling your career story. Second, social media platforms are key to job searching, networking, and showcasing your brand in the digital age. People will be searching for you on these platforms, so ensure your presence is strong and professional. It’s okay to maintain personal accounts, but be sure to strengthen your privacy settings so prospective employers can’t find them.
Align Your Personal and Professional Brands
The best way to earn and keep business today is through trust. If an employer’s or professional contact’s trust in you wavers, that could spell the end for your professional relationship.
Always be honest with your brand. If you aim to show people that you value trustworthiness and professionalism, then get those pictures of you skipping work and chugging beers at the game off your profiles. Your personal brand and your professional brand go hand-in-hand. Make sure they are aligned.
Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a certified professional resume writer, career consultant, and the president of Professional Resume Services.