Personal branding is centred on the idea that each of us is a brand with our own ‘customers’ to engage. We build our brand with the goal that these people will ‘invest’ in us our aims and ultimately our careers.
When searching for a job, your challenge is to distinguish yourself from the plethora of equally-qualified candidates. Personal branding can be an effective method of setting yourself apart from the crowd. A successful personal brand can make you a more attractive proposition to potential employers – and help secure that all-important opportunity.
More than just self-promotion, effective personal branding and reputation management is a pillar of leadership. Personal branding is a great differentiator when it comes to navigating the job market and securing a position – particularly when it comes to leadership roles. Building and leveraging your personal brand is vital for career development beyond middle management level and advancement in the modern business world.
We have outlined five areas to consider when building your personal branding strategy:
1. Create your own brand
Just as a brand must do market research and carve itself a niche in the market, you must differentiate yourself from other candidates with your own unique selling point (USP). Focus on what makes your offering stand out within the industry. What experience do you have that sets you apart? How do your co-workers view you? And how could this image be projected onto the digital landscape? What your co-workers think of you says a huge amount about your personal brand? Always consider external points-of-view, use their input as your most valuable asset in the development stages.
Just as a business must develop its value proposition to customers, you need to work out what makes you attractive to employers. Once your establish this, you then need to consider how this can be leveraged to help build a reputation as an industry leader.
2. Establish yourself
Qualifications can be a powerful tool to set yourself apart and establish your expertise. But, how can you then distinguish yourself from the other candidates with a top-tier educational background? Credentials have their limitations; this is where a personal brand can give you an advantage. Branding allows you to develop your value proposition, utilise your achievements and show how and why you are a leader in your field – showing your knowledge stands to support the credentials you have already gained.
It is said that “a reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was.” This truth you need to remember – your identity is fragile and once you’ve developed it, you need to protect it, it is something you should evolve and nurture over time. Just as your CV details your achievements, your personal brand is an asset that needs to be carefully curated and protected, too.
Similarly, once you’ve branded yourself, you need to remain consistent. It’s your duty to hold yourself accountable for fulfilling your brand promise. Building your personal brand also means you need to be at the forefront of developments in the industry. Stay up-to-date with relevant news and keep an eye on the competition to reinforce your reputation in your field. You should aim to position yourself as a thought leader for the industry, and build your brand accordingly.
3. Raise the profile of your projects
When you’ve finished a project, try to conscientiously collect the results and amalgamate them into a case study. When you have a body of solid work, you can then leverage these business successes to help further your career.
Rather than tell a company what you can do for them, show them what you are capable of. Equally, once you’ve developed these case studies, it’s time to help raise the visibility of your work. Speaking at events, as well as help to develop the presentation skills, will increase your network and stance within your industry as a thought leader.
Similarly, networking and attending key industry events is a vital element of building your profile in this area. Even if it’s just to meet people, the more you promote yourself and get to know figures in your industry, the stronger your personal brand will be. 
4. More than just social media
When it comes to creating social media accounts for yourself you need to think carefully and clearly about your intentions. What version of yourself will you project on the account? What are your privacy settings? And who will see it? What can you feasibly deliver to your audiences? And how will this relate to your career development?
Social media is being utilised as a vital tool for building personal brands, but it’s important to remember that personal branding is more than just a LinkedIn and Twitter profile – it’s your reputation in the physical world at work and events, too.
Networking is essential; whether it is online via LinkedIn and Twitter or in person via industry events, networking can introduce you to a wider range of industry professionals and understand even more about your industry. 
Focus on two-way networking; give other people the same opportunities to network with you as you want with them; offering the room to grow and benefit from your network as well. This will help strengthen your own personal brand as helping others with their career is a vital element of nurturing talent as a leader. 
Consistency is key
A personal brand must be consistent across your online presence as well as how your colleagues and how industry leaders see you; it is about your wider impact and you are perceived. Why not ask a close friend to confidentially tell you how you come across? Do they perceive you the same way you wish to be?
Personal development is a never-ending journey and it is your responsibility to manage the way you come across to others. Remember: consistency is important, but equally, so is adapting your efforts based on audience response.
A strong personal brand is not something that can be developed quickly; like a new CV, it is something which requires time and careful planning. Nurture your personal brand now, and it will help you to secure leadership roles in the future.
If you would like to know more about personal branding and how it could enhance your career contact the team at Phaidon International today.