6 Truths about Personal Branding

If the concept of ‘Personal Branding’ and its alleged importance in the job seeking process have been giving you headaches, it’s time for you to take a step back and try to wrap your mind around the facts surrounding it. It is common knowledge that the job application process involves marketing yourself as a candidate, therefore Personal Branding is an intrinsic aspect of it. And the truth is…

1.     There is nothing new under the Sun – ‘Personal Branding’ has become a buzz word within the last decade, after having appeared in an article the management guru Tom Peters wrote for the Fast Company Magazine in 1997. In reality, this is no new concept: as a candidate for a job, one has always had to promote himself/herself to be the perfect fit and to nourish an image that supports that.

2.    Your Personal Brand follows you everywhere – Whether you are aware of it or not, whether you are working on it or not, you already have a Personal Brand. The reasoning behind this statement is simple: we are all but human, so every social context in your life is an opportunity for others to label you. The question is: do you leave that in the hands of chance, or do you actively try to influence it?

3.    You have to know and trust the ‘product’ before starting to advertise – As in any marketing campaign, it all boils down to how well you know yourself: your strengths, your weaknesses, what you stand for, what sets you apart from others and what makes you attractive to recruiters. Once these personal attributes are identified, you have a strong basis for improving your perceived value in the marketplace.

4.    Consistency is key – In most of the cases, what you think of yourself and what others think of you are two different tales. Your task is to narrow the gap between the two as much as possible. For instance, if you see yourself as a born-leader, you have to make the people around you believe it too. Personal Branding is not about creating a fake image, but about being yourself, at your best and letting the world know about it.

5.    Web 2.0 is the perfect environment – Up until recently, the privilege of strengthening a brand via media channels belonged exclusively to companies. Now individuals can embrace Web 2.0 and communicate their Personal Brand. Cautiousness is needed though: just as easy as social media can work for you, it can also work against you.

6.    Strengthening your Personal Brand takes time – Similarly to the case of networking, you don’t start ‘flirting’ with the concept of Personal Branding when you get desperate for a job. Branding yourself is a process that requires a long-term strategy. A life-time strategy, to be more precise: what you stand for as an individual is essential in every step of your career, not only when switching jobs.

Like it or not, marketing is a discipline you have to master. So… how is your Personal Brand campaign working out?

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