Your personal brand lives in the minds of others. Just like when you think Starbucks, “coffee” and “predictable taste and quality” come to mind, when someone thinks of you an image forms. What is it? And does it open or close doors for you?
Why is your personal brand relevant in your career? Because if, for example, your network thinks that you are “an ethical accountant with international experience,” you will be the first one they call when an opportunity arises. But if no one has any idea of what you are good at, or if they have doubts about your reputation, it’s unlikely that your phone will ring.
What we call personal brand refers to a combination of elements that include your career path, your interests and your reputation. Over time these elements come together to build your image. An image that is not static but changes according to your activities, passions, and behavior.
Read more about how to find out what your personal brand is.
Your personal brand has as much to do with your quality as a human being as with what you do. Think of someone like Shakira. We could define her personal brand as “a talented, innovative and respected singer-songwriter, dancer, record producer and philanthropist.” But when those who might be interested in hiring her think of her, they also consider how easy it is to work with Shakira, what her work ethic is, whether she is a perfectionist, and if she is known for finishing projects on time. Does she treat the people she works with respectfully? And so on. That is, they not only think about what she does but how she does it. And that’s where your reputation comes into play.
Building your personal brand. An example for you
Here I share my own case study for you to use as an example when evaluating whether your personal brand opens or closes opportunities for you.
1My career – As with most people, my interests have changed throughout my career. I began at an educational book company where I did a little bit of everything. Gradually I started to create programs to involve parents in the education of their children, then developed teacher training, later training for professionals within companies and today I lead a women’s leadership training company. As a writer, each one of my books took me in a slightly different direction. I went from being an expert on parental involvement to an expert in education, from an expert in professional development to an expert in diversity and inclusion.
2My interests – While I have always had multiple interests, my focus has been on the education, and professional development of Latinos in the United States and in the last few years in women’s leadership. If you dig a little, my underlying personal brand has always been: “expert in helping connect the dots to success.” This consistency helps people think of me when they have an opportunity within my areas of interest and experience. Which does not happen when third parties don’t know what you do.
Here's a great video on building your personal brand.
Do others know your personal brand?
Here are the questions that will help you discover how clear your interests are to others.
If you ask someone: “tell me in two sentences what I do professionally,” can they answer? Do you often hear comments like “truthfully, I don’t know what do”? Do ideal opportunities pass you by because people didn’t think of you to carry them out?
3My Reputation – Although over the years I have changed the topics I focus on, there are aspects of who I am that have remained the same. They are part of what people have come to expect of me. These characteristics are as much part of my personal brand as what I do at any given moment. They are a collection of adjectives that people use to define me when asked about me. A few of them are: Inspiring, smart, confident, innovative, high energy, solutions-driven, perceptive, thoughtful, trustworthy, goes the extra mile. Again, What do people think when they think of you? These are the traits you develop and strengthen through your life. The reputation that precedes you. Going back to my previous example, when Shakira launched her perfume line, the “quality and innovation” aspects, which are an integral part of her personal brand, extended to her new venture. That is why, if her perfume were of poor quality, or were a copy of another fragrance, for example, her personal brand would be impacted.
No doubt your reputation is the most important ingredient of your personal brand. If it is not good, no matter how much you have done in a particular field or what your interests are, few will be willing to work with you.
Read more about how your actions can support your personal brand.
How to figure out if your reputation contributes to your personal brand
Here are the questions that will help you figure out whether or not your reputation contributes to a strong personal brand:
Do you keep your word? Do you inspire confidence? Are you an ethical person? Do you consider the impact of your behavior on others? Do you know how to work for mutual benefit? Are you known as someone people can trust? Do you have a reputation for being always late? For not delivering on your promises? For not carrying your weight in a project?
Hopefully this article will help you evaluate the type of person you are and how that directly influences the image you project to the world and the opportunities that knock on your door.
And as usual, if you’d like to solidify your personal brand to move to the next level in your career, we are a phone call away. Contact us here.