How Your Essential Personal Brand Affects Your Career
Personal branding is the culmination of your actions; it’s an image that marks you as a brand. It is you, the entire package, outside and inside, in the sense that you’re unique and distinguishable from others. Although obvious differences between you, as a brand, and a tube of Crest toothpaste exist, considering yourself as a brand can help bring objectivity to your job search and continuity to your career.
In other words, building a personal brand gives you the ability to make career choices easily and consistently.
Personal branding has a lot to do with the emotion someone feels when he or she thinks about you (something you can’t control) but is rooted in self-reflection and integrity (something you can control by regulating your behavior on- and offline and by presenting yourself conscientiously).
Every serious professional must consider his or her personal brand for the following reasons:
When you proactively define and communicate your brand, you’re in control of it. Most people have their brand handed to them by other people’s perceptions and reactions alone. By defining your brand, you take back some control over this process.
Instead of waiting for others to form random opinions about you that may or may not be accurate, help them out by sharing your well-crafted personal brand. Spending a few days figuring out your personal brand goes a long way in fostering understanding with other people and helps others see you for who you are.
Crafting your personal brand helps you figure out what makes you unique. The process of finding and communicating your brand can therefore be pretty powerful.
Differentiating yourself from all the other potential candidates for a job means being yourself, as in your authentic, true self — a task no one else can do for you. Personal branding allows you to let your true self shine by encouraging you to look inward and evaluate what makes you different from everyone else.
A personal brand helps you appear more consistent online and avoid raising any red flags with recruiters. Inconsistencies in how you appear online can put your career in jeopardy because hiring managers and HR professionals may view them as signs you aren’t being completely honest about who you are.
When recruiters start looking for talent, they typically start with LinkedIn. If they find you on LinkedIn and your profile appeals to them, they keep digging. They do background checks and Internet searches to find out more about you. If your online image has any inconsistency, you may find yourself in the maybe pile pretty quickly.
When you have a personal brand, you can more easily make decisions during your career. When you’re presented with options that go against your brand — against who you are — then letting them go is easier, even if they’re more lucrative.
A personal brand can even out the troughs between employment by being the one thing that doesn’t change about you. This is quite helpful when you consider that the average time at a job in the United States is about two years. Creating and maintaining a strong personal brand helps you minimize the gaps between jobs because you’re doing the following:
Continually networking, both on- and offline
Maintaining your résumé and online profiles
Setting short- and long-term goals by asking yourself where you want to be in three to five years and with what company, position, and level of responsibility
Viewing your professional life beyond the confines of any single organization, which means you’re reflecting on the personal and/or professional skills you need to further your career