Perception is an extremely sought after asset. Yes, an asset. In this extremely connected, ‘viral’ world of ours, how you are viewed, mentioned and interacted with, is very evident. Your identity is no longer just a definition of your personality. It is much more than that. It is your qualification to promote your unique qualities, achievements and experiences. It is the special gear that pushes you beyond the finish line before your competitors can work out a strategy. More than anything, it is an outcome of the skill to convert your unique value into a lasting memory. That skill is also known as personal branding.
As you chart your career path, garnering various skills and lessons, accord fair amount of your time and effort on investing in your personal brand. And we cannot view it as anything other than an investment. Personal branding requires you to consciously build channels and messages that speak how special you are to your professional and personal connections. It requires you to excel at defining those elements that exceed beyond the current situation of your life. Your brand is not a personal brand statement describing you as a ‘student’, ‘consultant’, ‘intern’ or ‘investment analyst’. It absorbs the fine threads of your contributions in these various roles to weave a distinct image as unique as your finger print. What you say or do inevitably flows into the equation of your brand because of the underlying links constituting this global world of ours.
It is the power of the brand that enables us to head to Häagen-Dazs when we think of strawberry cheesecake ice cream or a Chinese toddler to spot Hamley`s in the busy high streets of London.
How To Brand Yourself
We have a few points that can help you discover your brand strategy and brand yourself:
Define the meaning of your brand: You need to draw from your experiences, interactions, recognitions to arrive at what really sets you apart. What are the marks of differentiation on the path of your personal and career story? Was it the suggestion you made in last week`s team meeting to overhaul the application`s UI that exceptionally improved user experience? What drove you to think of that suggestion? Is it your detail-oriented, trouble shooting streak? Or is it on the strength of your inter-personal skills that you could discuss issues with the development team? Uncover the incident to identify the personality traits that talk about your brand. Paint a picture reconciling your core values with actual results. Results that you strategically and creatively facilitated in a competitive setting to bring maximum value.
Seek Feedback: Reach out to people who know you. Pay close attention to how they perceive your strengths and skills. Effective personal branding inextricably preconditions empathy as a desirable quality. You need to work at understanding how others, especially the audience you want to target, views your brand value. Call your mentor at work to discuss his/her inputs on your performance over coffee. Get in touch with alumni from the student club event you frequent. Ask your peers, direct reports, friends, career coach about the value they associate with you. They might help you glean insights from incidents or achievements that may seem irrelevant or inconsequential to you. However, eventually these insights might inform you about skills that truly apply to you. These nuggets of information will in turn help you refine your resume to target the job that is really meant for you.
Learn more about how you can demonstrate your unique skills by visiting the VMock platform.
Network to get the word of your brand out: Get in touch with your manager, friends, family, coworkers, clients, former bosses, alumni, teachers, anyone who was a witness to your work. Communicate your goals, vision and plans for your business or professional or academic pursuits. Gather an idea about how you stack up in their assessment of your strengths as well as areas of improvement. Join professional associations, student clubs (at Bschool), alumni clubs-any network avenue that complements your broad career goals.
Indulge in personal development: All leaders who we can recall to be great self-ambassadors are people who continue to seek information, learn and nurture new skills. That is one proven way of ensuring that you continue to deliver discernible value. So as you strive to make a mark at your job by learning new applications and processes, picking up newer skills compatible to advanced tools, you should pause to identify the key lessons that will distinguish you from your peers who are indulging in a bit of self-learning of their own. And while you are at it, you should think a bit further to create a distinctive role for yourself within your professional set-up. Seek out opportunities to free lance, take up consultancy projects, volunteer at your local school or if you enjoy penning your thoughts contribute to the local paper. If you are an avid traveler, explore the possibility of learning a new language. Your goal should be to define what you enjoy through your actions and have attained expertise in- in a pronounced way.
Develop your brand`s visibility: It goes without saying that for you to advocate your vision, passion and business, you need to have a digital presence. Begin by establishing a website of your own. Refer to your favorite websites or blogs that you visit often. You would realize that you come back to them again and again not only because they are familiar to your interests and goals but also because you trust that source of information. Consistency, clarity and loyalty are the essential indicators of a successful website. Stay in tune with the current trends of the domain or industry you work in or are interested to pursue and integrate them in the content you populate on your site. Leverage all popular social media channels-Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook to highlight what you can offer to provide distinct value. Since, it is virtually a matter of a few clicks, ensure that what you express through the various social media accounts is verified and credible as that directly and quite strongly affects your brand equity and there is no coming back from that corner of the internet world.
So, focus your effort on following your professional goals but dedicate some time to create your brand as well. As the lives of all great achievers –Bill Gates to Steve Jobs testify-often in a sea of incredible effort it is the wave of your brand that propels you to your destination.
Avail the value of immediate and customized resume feedback on the VMock SMART career platform. An online resume review program, VMock is an intuitive tool that relies on artificial intelligence, data science and natural language processing to cater to the individuality of each student.
The system evaluates the resume on critical parameters including how distinctly you reflected your core competencies. The application provides guidelines and details through specific examples, how you can demonstrate key soft skills –‘communication’, ‘leadership’, ‘teamwork’ and ‘initiative’ through your resume.
Witness noticeable improvement in the quality of career guidance that has so far been adopted by leading schools from across the globe like: INSEAD, Stanford, Yale, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Kellogg and several others.2