Managing Your Personal Brand
Coca-Cola, Google, Apple and Mercedes have brand identities. Do YOU?
Being the chief marketer of the brand called YOU is important to your career management. Branding can set you apart from other candidates in a competitive job market. According to William Arruda in Personal Branding - Gets You the Job, 11% of recruiters highlight personal branding as the best way for a candidate to get their attention.
So how do you develop a personal brand? First you need to start with a solid assessment of what makes you different from the rest. Tom Peters in the Fast Company article The Brand Called You, suggests that you give yourself 15 words or less to define what sets your personal product or service apart from others. Start by considering your greatest strengths. You may want to solicit input on this, since we dismiss our areas of greatest strength simply because it's easy to us. Looking back on your greatest achievements may give additional insights. Once you've identified these areas of note, look at them from the perspective of a client or an employer. What benefits do you provide, above and beyond others, because of who you are. Now define what makes you YOU.
Once you defined what makes YOU unique; it's time to put your marketing hat on. Where can you network to make your uniqueness visible. Does your presence on the internet, through blogs, social networks, face books, etc. support (or undermind) your brand? Do your friends, colleagues, boss, and clients know your brand? How can they help you in furthering it? Keep in mind that according to Dan Schwabel in his article Successful Networking through Personal Branding (may require free registration), some 80% of available jobs are never advertised. By extending your reach beyond information on jobs to having "salespeople" who know why your brand is so appropriate, will let you rise above the crowd.
Finally, remember that Brand YOU should be authentic to who you are. With people able to "google" you, you can manage but not control information. Staying true to who you are will allow you to create and sustain a distinctive personal brand.