If you look after your career branding, it will look after you.
Why do you drive the car you drive when there are other options in the same price range? Why do you shop where you do? What influenced your choice of mobile network? Matter of fact, why do you respect some of your colleagues more than others?
As much as there may be dozens of different things that influence our decisions, it all boils down to one thing really, your PERCEPTION. Your perceived value in that vehicle, service provider or person.
So, what people think of you comes down to their perception of you and not necessarily who you truly are. 9 out of 10 times people’s perception is greatly disconnected from the truth. That grumpy old man who looked at you the wrong way could possibly be the nicest guy who just happened to be lost in his own troubles at that moment. That inarticulate guy who can’t string together a decent sentence whom people perceive to be unintelligent could be the most brilliant engineer. Unfair right? Well, not all is lost.
The great news is you greatly influence your brand and how people perceive you. Most of us give up our power to control how the world sees us and leave it all to chance, let the chips fall where they may. That would be ok if you didn’t need to rely on your brand to get ahead in life.
Glad you asked! At every turn, you are marketing yourself and we all know it is easier to market a great brand than a poor brand. Single people looking for companionship market themselves to prospective companions, job seekers market themselves to prospective employers and business people market their products or services to prospective clients. But in all honesty, if your brand sucks, no one wants anything to do with you.
Easier to get a date if you don’t appear sloppy and unclean. Easier to secure a job if you don’t come across as lazy and unskilled. Note I did not say easy, I said easier because your brand gets you through the door, your integrity secures your place.
Take a moment as ask yourself this, what’s the first thing that comes to people’s mind when they think about me. If you are wondering why I keep mentioning things along with people, it is to illustrate that a brand is synonymous with everything that exists.
So how will your brand look after you? It will aid you in securing the opportunities you seek.
Stop letting people brand you, manage your own personal brand, choose how you wish to be perceived and work every day to maintain and stay true to all you stand for!
- Analyse yourself; you have to look at yourself and the way you are perceived from a neutral point of view as a stranger to you. Start by searching for yourself online and asking colleagues, friends and family about how you come across to people, including your strong and weak features. Then work to correct and improve yourself based on what you heard.
- Plan your career journey; analyse your life, ambitions and be clear about where you would like your career to go and the type of person you would like to be perceived as. I recommend finding a career-based role model and look at how they have made it, what skills they had to learn and the lifestyle they had to live in order to accomplish their goals.
“You can’t do the same things over and over again and expect different results, try something new”
- Articulate yourself well; what you say about yourself is very important, you need to learn how to write well about your strengths and capacity, this needs to transpire in your professional CV and social networking profiles. The task can be difficult, and spelling and grammatical errors can cost you dearly, so please do consult professional CV writers.
- Apply the right design to your brand; the digital age introduced lots of graphics, but not all of them are good for your image and to use. Apply the right and professional designs to your CV and social profiles, make sure your pictures are professional and appropriate for business. Click here to see a professional CV example.
- Market yourself; the best place to start is on social networks and email, you need to learn how to introduce yourself to experts in your field of occupation and study. Share information that is appropriate to your industry. When looking for new job opportunities you need to contact the hiring manager and specialised recruiters in that area. LinkedIn is a great place to start. If you don’t have time to build a strong social profile, then check out LinkedIn optimisation
Remember: when it comes to career branding, your first impression online is now more important, and your career brand must have a clear message of who you are, your experience and strengths and how you can be a great asset to the company.