A few weeks ago Jen wrote an article on personal branding for our friends at Brand-Yourself.com (a site dedicated to help you analyze, manage and monitor the components of your web presence and create an online identity you’ll want employers to find). In case you missed it, we wanted to make sure we shared Jen Kushell’s 10 Tips to Supercharge Your Personal Brand with you!
Remember the last time you cringed when you heard the way someone described who you are or what you do? Maybe you’ve found yourself sweating over how to describe yourself or your latest project. How about those business cards of yours, that bio, your website or that promotional reel you created? Those giving you any stress? All of these instances and elements are part of your professional branding. How effectively you brand yourself has a lot more to do with your success than you might think.
Companies focus on branding when marketing new products or businesses to consumers because they know that public perception can make or break their success. In your career, it’s helpful to consider yourself as a product that you have to sell or promote to clients, employers, admissions boards and colleagues. Try describing your brand out loud. How does it sound? Are you impressed or bored? What do you want other people to think of when you pop into their minds?
How you are perceived by others should of course be proportional to your success. But in reality, it often isn’t. Far too often we see people who are painfully unknown or struggle to get the word out, even though they’re highly accomplished. Even worse, is when some build strong compelling brands and convince others that they’re top notch, when they’re really just a bunch of smoke and mirrors. I always like to think that integrity, honesty, substance and providing true value are the foundation of any great brand.
Here are a few tips for developing a solid brand of your own:
1. Think about the things you want to promote about yourself and start to build a list of things you need to communicate or bring to life for others to recognize why you’re worth paying attention to.
2. Start to gather a wide range of assets you have that illustrate your history, experience and success to date.
3. Create a branding statement: Include the answers to the following questions: Who am I? What am I proud of? What am I good at? How am I unique or different?
4. Gather endorsements and quotes from notable people, admirers, fans or ideally happy clients.
5. Forget your resume and build your bio, on a single sheet of paper in paragraph form, that tells your story in a compelling way.
6. Build a professional online profile (YSN.com is great for young professionals and entrepreneurs!), your own blog, or web site so you can leverage all of these great assets, elements and descriptive info, not to mention be easily found online.
7. Make sure that you have an impressive presence on the top social networking and other sites prominent in your industry.
8. Keep well designed business cards with you everywhere you go.
9. Make an effort to leave a lasting impression on most everyone you come in contact with – even the ones you don’t meet in person. Pay attention to your grammar and tone in e-mails and phone calls. (One of my favorite tips for very important calls or phone interviews: Look in a mirror when you are speaking and smile. Your smile can translate into a positive impression to the person on the other end!)
10. In person, make sure to smile often, look other people in the eye, and offer a confident handshake. Pay attention to the way you dress. Speak loudly, confidently and with certainty. Carry yourself with your head up, shoulders back and with quiet confidence.
And lastly, be someone that you and everyone you know can be proud of. Be the kind of person others are eager to spend time with and introduce to their friends and biggest contacts. Keep getting the word out and building your platform too. Follow these steps and I guarantee you and your brand will really start to shine!