by Denise Felder
Have you heard the buzz about “personal branding?” Career advisors are talking about it because job seekers’ awareness of their own personal brand impacts the success of their job hunt. Thinking that you don’t have a personal brand might mean that you do have one, and it could be hurting you.
Your personal brand is how you present to the world (or employers) who you are, what you’re good at, and what unique skills you have. Remember, you create your own personal brand, and you decide how you want others to see you and your career. Job performance, how you treat customers and coworkers, your resume and interview presentation, your activities online, your appearance, and how you talk about your career are all parts of your personal brand.
Employers notice your brand even when you don’t.
Think of a product like Coke, Tide or Maytag. Each of these brand names has a reputation that is different from other soft drinks, laundry detergents and appliances. Customers form opinions and buy these products based on advertising and on their job performance. Does this product do what it promises to do, and does it do it better or in a unique way? Employers are asking similar questions about potential employees.
Some might simply call it “professional attitude,” but everyone in every type of career has a personal brand. Here are a few simple ways you can take charge of your brand:
- Think about the way you describe your skills and experience. Every time you talk about yourself with an employer or at a networking event, focus on your strengths and what you can bring to a workplace. Let everyone you meet know that you’ve thought about your career goals and have confidence in your skills.
- Consider your phone and e-mail etiquette. The way you chose to communicate with others shows an employer how you’ll communicate with clients and coworkers. Be polite, prompt and clear in your calls, messages and e-mails. Think about what your outgoing voicemail message, e-mail address and other forms of communication say about your professional attitude.
- Manage your online presence. Profiles, postings and photos on websites like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter can help to build or diminish your personal brand. When you write a message or post information online, always assume that a prospective employer will see it.
Some food for thought: What are some other ways you can build your personal brand? Do you have examples of personal branding that has hurt a person’s career?