The most important thing I learned about personal branding

The most important thing I learned about personal branding

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Graduates, Job Hunt Advice

Back in 2008, when we were in the middle of a recession, the world didn’t need another careers coach. There were hundreds of them.

So, how was I going to stand out? 

Why personal branding is important

It was throughout this period I learned why personal branding is important: understanding what you stand for, and how you wish people describe you when you’re not in the room. 

Losing your job is a horrible thing to have to experience, both physically and emotionally. That feeling of dread of not being able to pay the bills is horrible, but then there’s the way you’re affected on an emotional and physical level, and how you grieve for your relationships with your co-workers and those daily routines.  

You know, that morning commute in, when you get a coffee from the nice man who always waves. Or, when you see Alan the cleaner, who’s always singing (he never quite gets your name right), but you smile back. Then there’s the little routine you have with your desk buddy, or the feeling of elation when you and your work wife come up with the exact same idea. 

It’s the little things that make work important. And, if you’ve been furloughed or have lost your job, you’re going to be grieving. 

So, what did I learn back in 2008 that is especially important today?

Was I going to be another careers advisor?

Of course, I wasn’t. I listened to what my listeners wanted and built a personal brand around creating honest, constructive careers advice that shared values I believed in. 

How did I do that? 

Know what you’re selling. 

People buy into shared values. 

If you want someone to fall in love with you, you have to show them who you are, right? Well, it’s the same in your career (sort of). If you want an employer to stand up and see you and pick you above the other applicants, you need to show them who you are. Show them what you stand for and communicate what your values and motivations are. 

The reason why this is so important is, and I’m sorry, I’m going to be real here, but it’s that there’s going to be loads of people with the same qualifications and skills as you. 

You need to find a way to differentiate yourself. And this is why you need to know what you stand for, believe in, why you do what you do. 

Here’s a quick video, part of my Managing your Personal Branding course, on how you would do this: 

If you live by people’s compliments, you’ll die by their criticism (Cornelius Lindsey)

Once you’ve come up with your list of things you think you stand for, I want you to find people you trust, who’ll give you honest feedback and see if it aligns. 

What do they think you’re the expert at? 

How would they describe you to others if you weren’t in the room? 

Does this match with what you are selling? If it doesn’t, you’ve got some work to do and by investing your time in creating a great personal brand is going to help you long term. 

One last thing.

Your job isn’t what absolutely creates or defines you; it’s something that makes up part of you as an individual. When understanding why personal branding is important, remember this to get to the bottom of who you are and why you do it. 

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