Building your personal brand is something that has become essential for all professionals young and old in the current global economy. Your “Brand” dictates how others identify and perceive you.
Here are a few tips on building and maintaining your personal brand.
1. Identify your specialty
What are you good at? In order to create an effective brand you need to figure out what sets you apart from the competition. What can you do well that others cannot? What is your area of expertise? Your specialty may be a result of your educational background, your personality or natural talent.
2. What kind of image would you like to project?
You need to identify how you want others to perceive you. This will depend largely on your specific field of work and expertise. For example if your field is IT you may want others to perceive you as a intelligent, technically sound, punctual and professional. In this field it may not be a disadvantage to be perceived as a “nerd”. But for example if your field is Public Relations being perceived as shy and nerdy may be a disadvantage as this field requires an extroverted and outgoing personality.
3. Be active on Social Media
Social media is a valuable tool to help you build and promote your personal brand. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are all outlets for expressing yourself and getting your message across. It’s important to be YOU on these social networking sites. If you are posting a photo of yourself make sure it’s professional, true to your brand, appropriate and authentic. Avoid hiding behind fancy usernames and fake photos, this defeats the purpose of building your own brand.
4. Maintain a polished and up to date CV or Resume
Your CV or Resume showcases your achievements in your specific field. Make sure you have it up to date and ready to go in case clients or potential employers request for it. Having a current CV on hand is key to promoting and supporting your personal brand as you can have a hard copy of what you have achieved thus far. As soon as you obtain any new education or training, be sure to add it to your CV. For more information on resumes check this post on Resume Writing Tips.
5. Expand your network
Expanding your network of contacts and building new connections is a great way to build your personal brand, as more people will be aware of your expertise. Forming mutually beneficial relationships is key as contacts will have an incentive for staying in touch with you, and you will be in touch with more people. Don’t be shy, seek out the people you need to meet and introduce yourself!
6. Market yourself at networking events
Self marketing is an important component of building your personal brand. Getting your name out in the open is essential to making your brand synonymous with your field. We recommend attending local networking events where you can make new connections and make others aware of your skills and expertise. Remember not to over promote; attend events to make connections but maintain brand consciousness and let others know what you’re good at and what you do.
7. Seek out feedback
In order to be successful in building your own brand you need to be aware of your strength and weaknesses as a brand. The best way to do this is via peer feedback. Ask friends and mentors to give you feedback on your brand. Remember to seek out constructive criticism from sources you trust; those who have your best interests in mind. We recommend linking up with other professionals who are also in the process of building their own brands and setting up a peer mentor group so you can provide each other with insight, feedback, and support.
Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world. She can be reached via Website, Twitter, Facebook or her Blog.