Social media has become a top-of-mind strategy in job search and career advancement on the job. In order to use social media successfully, you need first to understand your message of value to your target audience and your points of differentiation from your competition. This is where authentic personal branding, based in the reality of who you are, comes into play.
Leadership consultant Glenn Llopis struck a chord with me in his post Personal Branding Is a Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign. The following 5 key points particularly stand out:
1. “Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader”. It is true. Knowing, leveraging, and living your personal brand will do more to positively distinguish you from your job competition or professional colleagues than a myriad of other job search or job development activities. Since your personal brand is unique to you and you alone, it becomes the ‘killer app’ in your success arsenal.
2. “Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving”. Employers and customers, whom we serve in our jobs, gravitate to people who can demonstrate consistent value. That is at the heart of the communications and supporting activities that express our personal brand.
3. “View your personal brand as a trademark; an asset you must protect while continuously molding and shaping it”. Google your name (put your name in quotation marks first) and review the results. What do your Google results say about you? Do you barely exist online? If so, your personal brand (like your ‘light’) is hiding under a bushel basket! Are there many others with your same name? Then your personal brand may be confused with others, some of whom may not be the most exemplary characters. Is it any wonder that employers may not be calling you for an interview?
4. “Every time you are in a meeting, at a conference, networking reception or other event, you should be mindful of what others are experiencing about you and what you want others to experience about you”. Other people can only form opinions about your personal brand based on what you do and what you say. Fortunately, that is completely under your control!
5. “…focus on being more of who you naturally are and want to be so that you can perform and serve at optimal levels”. Throw off the ‘fake front’ at work or trying to blend in with everyone else. Show commitment to your career growth via your ever-evolving personal brand. Your current personal brand, as viewed through the eyes of others, can develop into your aspirational brand. It starts with awareness and a bit of personal courage.
One final point: personal branding is not just for managers, directors, and executives. We are all the leaders of our own careers, we already have a personal brand (whether we know it or not!), and we can all utilize it for career success. So go for it!