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Career Management: 3 Ways to Build Your Professional Brand

professional-brandIs your career one of your best assets? You might feel that your career is important to you, but how often do you nurture your career? When we treat our career as any other asset, we understand the importance of career management.

Part of career management is having a strategic career plan. Remember that a strategic career plan is your map to your career goals and that is involves three important factors:

  1. Define your career aspirations
  2. Build your personal brand
  3. Develop a plan

In a previous article (link to the article above on define career aspirations) we discussed how you can start to define your career aspirations. This article will focus on how you can build your personal brand.

Do you have a personal brand? In short, a personal brand represents the value that you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving. All business professionals should have a personal brand, but statistics show that this isn’t the case. Studies show that:

  • Less than 15% of business leaders have a solid and defined personal brand
  • Less than 5% are consistently living by their brand

This is startling news, especially when your personal brand is such an important piece of the map you need to reach your career goals. If you can’t define your value, how can you prove to others that you deserve to keep moving to the next level in your industry?

(For more information on this topic, Watch our Free Webinar: 3 Keys to Unlock YOUR Strategic Career Plan)

To define your personal brand, you must be clear about who you are as a business professional. Consider the following :

  • Your values and passion. For example, what got you into your industry? What do you like about your job position? People are interested in these kinds of details. This is a part of your story and your brand.
  • Your strengths, education and experience. What about you stands out from the rest of the professionals in your industry? What measurable results do you achieve for your listener? For example: I help people find a job that makes them want to jump out of bed in the morning. The results benefit my clients.
  • Your personality type and soft skills. Employers and prospective clients want to know details about your that make you unique. This has to do with skills that aren’t teachable, such as being driven or connecting well with others.

For each area listed above, try to identify three things about yourself and journal about them. If you find you are struggling with this exercise, talk to trusted friends and family members to give you a jump start. Ask them questions such as:

  1. What are my top three strengths?
  2. What do I do better than anyone else you know?
  3. What three adjectives come to mind when you think of me?

Now that you have a better understanding of who you are and what you have to offer, it’s time to start forming your branding statement. Your branding statement is composed of three parts: Who, What, and Why.

  1. Who: Who do you serve/who is your target market?
  2. What: What unique value do you provide?
  3. Why: How do you deliver and why should they believe you?

Note: The second and third components of your branding statement are your unique selling points.

When forming your branding statement, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Write and speak in an authentic tone of voice. You want to make sure your brand matches your personality and that you feel natural using it in professional and networking settings.
  • Practice until you have committed it to memory. Make sure that your branding statement is simple enough that you don’t have to look at a piece of paper to talk about yourself
  • Make sure you are enthusiastic and smile!

Now that you have a personal brand, it’s time to share it with the world. Make sure to include it in:

  • Your resume and cover letter. For example, it could be part of your professional profile or summary or qualifications.
  • Your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you include results that you would bring to a potential employer or client. It is also appropriate to use it on other social media profiles that you use professionally.
  • Your email signature. Yes, this is a great way to communicate your brand. Include it in your professional email address that you use for your job search.

The more you use your brand, the easier it will be to stay true to your branding statement. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate yourself and your brand every so often and make sure that your branding statement is still true to who you are as a business professional. Make adjustments if necessary to make sure that you are communicating the image that best represents you to the world.