Developing your personal brand

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personal brand

Self-awareness is a wonderful thing, and we all know how we think we see ourselves. Perhaps we think we are confident, competent, decision-making leaders, with bags of energy and the ability to deal with any crisis life throws at us. Or maybe we’re mere mortals, not infallible, with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. But how do others see us – and do the two ‘images’ match up?

Clarity and consistency

Your personal brand is about clearly and consistently presenting who you are – your real strengths, true personality, character, attitudes and motivations – and the ability to articulate them concisely and with confidence. To create your personal brand, you need everyone to understand who you are, what you do, where you add value and why they might want to employ you.

A key factor of your brand is consistency. Every facet of your brand must add up – from your personality ‘in person’ in an interview or the workplace, with the contents of your CV, to your online presence, via social media, or a blog or website. There’s no point in presenting one viewpoint in your social media persona that completely contradicts your real views. Make sure too that your CV reinforces your beliefs and achievements, rather than disputing them. Remember, abilities, traits and qualities that should be highlighted in your profile should cover four key areas – Personal and Interpersonal skills, Organisational and Decision-making.

Being true to yourself

Your CV is a good place to start with creating your brand. Despite some companies using online application forms for job vacancies, a strong CV is just as important now as it always was. It allows you the time to think about your achievements and strengths, and quantify and present them in a coherent, striking way. They can also be easily adapted to form the basis of any kind of online application form, by tailoring the responses from your CV to fit each question.

It’s also useful to have various different edits of your profile. A short passage is always useful to have – the kind of 150–200-word paragraph you might be able to use at a networking session as an instant concise introduction. This should state clearly and simply ‘who you are’ and ‘what you do’. It should be something that is true to yourself and that you feel comfortable delivering in person – a reflection of you in a few words.

Two sides, one face

Play to your strengths and as much as possible, your work persona should complement your real personality. There’s no point in putting an act on at work that is difficult to maintain. You’ll constantly be thinking you mustn’t let your guard down, which most of us can never do. The two sides of your life – your work and your personal life – may be quite separate (that is, unless you run your own business!).  Ensuring that you include as much of your own personality into your ‘brand’ will make it easier for people to relate to you – and your sincerity will be rewarded with reciprocal honesty and trust.

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