Everyone has characteristics and behaviors that when uniquely combined form their personal brand. Whether you have been intentional about it or not, how you are perceived by friends, family and colleagues can help or hurt you in various situations. Take control of your own storyline and gain more confidence when it comes to asking for what you want and knowing which career opportunities are the ones worth reaching for.
Define Your Brand
As the first step to understanding your personal brand, you’ll need to dig deep to better understand who you are. What makes you different from your peers? What are your strengths, skills, attitude, goals, etc.? How would you want your friends to describe you? How would you want your co-workers to describe you? What do you want to be known (or not known) for?
Research and Identify Gaps
Gathering information during this step can help identify skills gaps and areas to focus on personally. Ask some of your trusted friends, co-workers and managers what makes you different. How would they describe you as a person? As a colleague? Where do you stand out and what areas could use some extra attention for development? Where are the gaps between how you define yourself and how others perceive you?
Self Reflect, Then Focus
In addition to digging deeper into the discrepancies between how you define your brand and how others describe you, it’s important to review your personal priorities on a regular basis. What are your top priorities? What are your career goals? Life goals? Where do you want to be in a year, five, ten years?
Communicate Through Your Actions and Words
Make sure your actions and messages are consistent and genuinely reflect what and how you’re trying to communicate. How do you choose to communicate? Who is your audience? Where are they? Do your actions and how you carry yourself reflect your priorities and goals online and offline?
Everything you do contributes to your personal brand, so every detail matters. Once you’ve defined your brand, goals and priorities, how you carry yourself in and out of the workplace should authentically reflect your brand. Who do you admire and why? Who are your mentors
and what is it about them that draws you to them? It’s important to surround yourself with influences that help you continue to learn and improve.
By truthfully answering these tough questions, you'll be able to focus on building a plan for where you want to go and how to get there. Then, be sure to update your resume to reflect your personal brand and use examples of strengths and weaknesses when asked during interviews. Consider your near term and/or long term goals as well as priorities when determining which employers you’d like to work with.
Pro-tip: It’s important to build in a certain level of flexibility into your thinking and goal setting. Life happens and while near term and long term goal planning is important, be sure to revisit these questions periodically to be sure to make adjustments if necessary.
Once you've drawn some conclusions for yourself, you’ll see how other decisions will be impacted.