What’s Your Personal Brand?

We often equate branding with large companies like Coca-Cola and Apple, but branding is essential on every level from the employee, the team, to the bigger picture of the corporation. When it comes to your personal brand, it’s important you have clearly defined what it is you want to portray to job seekers and future companies.

Not sure where to start? Think about these things.

1. What’s the story you want people to know about you when it comes to your career? Have you climbed the corporate ladder the traditional way, being sure never to miss a step—or have you had some other strategy with super star ideas? Once you define your personal story, you can begin to create your brand in more depth.

2. If you had to pick three words to describe your personality and working-style, what would those words be? Now, once you know those words, go and review everything that represents you and ask yourself if those three words can be felt through what you’ve put in front of someone. Check your LinkedIn, references, resume and even your personal appearance when you show up to a meeting.

3. Next, it’s time to look at the evidence that supports your personal branding story and “feel.” Do you have proof to back up what it is that you want to portray or are you trying to create an image of what you think people want to see from you? If you have the evidence, create a portfolio – even if it’s just for yourself, so you don’t forget. If you lack the evidence, begin to create it. Take on an extra assignment, enroll in additional coursework or find another way to coincide your brand with your actions.

Make a statement about yourself and your career by being clear about what you want to portray. But what you portray isn’t everything, it’s also got to be accurate!

What other tips would you share on creating a personal brand? What are you doing to create yours?

What is Career Branding?

This is a post that was originally featured on Career Rocketeer, written by Ian Levine.

Personal Branding (PB) + Relationship Capital (RC) = Career Branding (CB)

PB + RC = CB

Why does this matter?

The answer is simple.  If you work the formula you will have more successful career branding!

The time to build a network is when you are seeking nothing in return. If your objective is to time results, you will most likely come up short of goals because your relationships will be all short term, results oriented.   Thus any “relationships” will lack depth and breadth.  What you really need to do is position for the “whenever”.   You position for the “whenever” by building Relationship Capital before you need it.

Obviously, the unemployed are at a significant disadvantage to maximize an effective Career Branding campaign because by definition they have an immediate need for results.  Thus their ability to build Relationship Capital is limited.

The unemployeds’ immediate need for results has lead to the proliferation of LinkedIn advisors that make two strong recommendations.

1)      Build a large network of connections fast.

2)      Come up with a slick LinkedIn tag line

Concept 1

An artificial network is effectively a “spray & pray” marketing technique. There are numerous LinkedIn webinars or services that suggest (or actually help) build large LinkedIn networks instantly through variousInmail and aggressive “Group joining techniques”. Our opinion is that this does not represent a strategic job search and offers very little true utility in finding work faster.  It certainly can work and you could also win the lottery today and thus not be reading this article.  Creating artificial networks is counter to our formula for Career Branding.

Concept 2

Over the last several years, the unemployed have been coached to change their LinkedIn profile headline to titles like:

  • Quality Guru
  • Sales Superstar
  • Digital Print Expert
  • Online Marketing Sherpa

Career Brander definitely recommends and respects the attempt to clarify one’s specialty and create a personal brand.  A succinct and accurate LinkedIn headline is a good idea, however this is simply a beginning, and the real work is getting the personal association of the title in the marketplace. The mistake people make is waiting until they are looking for a new job to address their personal brand.  Brands are earned not instantly accepted!

The trick is to build the personal brand over time and then match it to one’s networks of connections/relationships.

Think about a salesperson cold calling a prospect.  If a sales person cold calls prospects, saying we are the best at “X” and asking for orders, they will fail 999.9 out of 1000 times.   This is not how “buyers” are wired and is a fairly ridiculous approach.   The prospect has not been nurtured.  The sales person is not a known entity and thus the recipient of the call has no inclination to listen or necessarily believe anything they are saying.  There is no reason for trust and trust is implied in every purchase!  The same principle applies to job search.

Successful salespeople (and companies) brand themselves by building relationships BEFORE they need them.  Career branding is no different.  Relationships are best built before one party in the relationship has an immediate pending need.  Trust is built by non-threatening exchanges that are not self centered.  The exchanges need to offer something to the other party such as knowledge, connections or other learning’s.  This principle is why, Career Brander does not advocate Linking on LinkedIn just to build out a network, but rather Linking based on real relationships.   Perhaps a Luddite’s view; but an on-line relationship is generallynot nearly as deep as a more traditional personal one that has relationship capital build through non-cyber means.  There are exceptions, but just connecting on LinkedIn does not represent Relationship Capital.

Personal Brands and Relationship Capital are earned.  They take time to develop and require continual and consistent re-enforcement to build and become meaningful. They cannot be instantly achieved through LinkedIn profile headlines, cold calling, artificial social networks, or introductory emails.  Start now and invest time to PB and RC every week.

If you look at your peers, those who cycle through successful career positions without extended job searches, they have mastered the PB + RC = CB formula.

Let’s relook at the formula at this articles beginning.

Personal Branding (What you are known for.)

+

Relationship Capital (Your network and how committed are they to you based on historical actions and interactions.)

Equals

Career Branding

Ian Levine is a leading authority and frequent speaker on sales optimization techniques.  As the founder ofCareer Brander he applies sales and marketing techniques to Career Branding and Job Search.  Career Brander’s Job Search Radar, is a robust tool that integrates Hoover’s premium content, social networks and web agents into an effective career transition platform.  You can read additional personal branding, job search and career articles by Ian Levine on the Career Brander Blog.