The Importance of Your Personal Brand
By Cindy Schwartz
If prompted, could you describe what makes you professionally unique? Are you conscious of what comprises your professional brand?
Creating a brand is not only helpful to oneself but to talent seekers as well. Awareness and exploration of your distinct talents can help you to:
- Seek out growth opportunities,
- Connect to your worth in the market,
- Explore lateral moves that will compliment and add to your catalog of skills
Additionally being acquainted with your brand will provide you with a benchmark that will ensure your career decisions are well thought out and in line with your long-term goals.
What does it comprise?
A personal brand should clearly state what you aspire to achieve and what your fundamental motivations are to get there. It should clearly showcase your innate talents, your distinctive skills and should be a reflection of your core values.
How do we go about creating a personal brand?
Identifying core values
Personal core values are who we are. They subconsciously guide us to do and react the way that we do every day. When we choose careers that negate our true core values we feel frustrated, bored or complacent. By understanding what makes us tick, we can be clearer on what direction to take and make decisions that align with our personal aspirations.
Talents are the things that come naturally to us without needing much effort. Identifying them can be highly empowering and can connect us to jobs and careers that can create value and professional fulfillment. These can be concrete or intuitive.
Identifying skills and transferable knowledge
It is important that we acknowledge the skills we have acquired over the course of our career! Can they be transferable to another job? What is it that makes us unique? The sum of all makes up our professional edge.
Personal branding needs to be comprised of real life examples on how we have delivered in specific situations. This provides the evidentiary proof of skills and knowledge which will make our personal brand more credible.
What do we aspire to in the short term? Where do we see ourselves in 5 years?
Goal setting begins by setting small targets that progress into larger scale plans as we progress professionally while acquiring new skills. Setting short, medium and long-term goals can ensure brand consistency.
Losing touch with our personal brand
Undefined career path
I often hear people say that their career/jobs just happened to them. We start somewhere and end up straying from the “original path.” Perhaps we switch industries or change companies because of layoffs; because we are seeking what we perceive is a “better” fit. Sometimes we choose new opportunities without thinking about how they fit into a longer-term career strategy.
Studies don’t match with career goals
We are forced into deciding after high school a direction that will dictate the rest of our careers. Many of us are not prepared to make this kind of decision and choose a major at random. We can spend upwards of a decade or more in academia just to realize that we are not as invested in it as when we started. It can be jarring to then be thrust into the corporate world only to discover that salaries and job opportunities are not as rewarding as expected.
Didn’t pursue post secondary studies
A benefit to pursuing studies of any kind is that it gives a direction and a path to follow. Without a road map, we can find ourselves making career decisions based on what is available in the market at that given time. This will definitely impact the construction of a cohesive brand later down the line.
Life decisions can force us to put our careers on hold for others. Having children and taking care of family members are examples of this. Taking a hiatus can leave an unclear feeling regarding our current value in the job market and thus giving a back seat to our professional ambitions.
The creation of a strong brand identity can and should evolve over the course of our career. Staying connected to it will ensure that our career contributions are constantly empowered enhancing our career development.
Matching yourself to a career that is a reflection of your unique gifts and the development of your personal brand will ultimately set you up to love what you do.
But that’s another story for another day. Stay tuned!