Personal Branding For Career Development

Subarna Poudel

You may have a well-recognized university degree, good business or a well-paid job but do you have a distinct personality? A unique personal and professional history that immediately stands out ?

Branding is commonly associated with companies but in the present scenarios it is used with people too.
So what is personal branding?
“Personal branding is the means by which people remember you”. It is all about the way people perceive your image and think of you when you are not there or hear your name. It is often involving one’s name. What do you get in your mind when your hear or see brands like APPLE, TATA, CG, and GODREJ. What thoughts and images you get in your mind?

Nowadays personal branding is in fashion and people want to connect with people rather than the company because it is easy to trust real people than businesses. Your personal brand is something that follows you around whether you want it to or not. It’s something that exists even if you don’t bother to cultivate it. From job to job, the way you present yourself professionally matters and it is instrumental in establishing yourself as a valuable leader.
Your Personal Brand is like your Trademark, which is why it must be carefully managed and protected. It is not a list of accomplishments or an exercise in self-promotion. That’s an important distinction.
Start by imagining you are your own brand. Focus on your strengths, skills and expertise that add distinguishable value. Then do what you do best and publicize it. Get a website, update LinkedIn, blog – relentlessly inform others of what you are doing. The ultimate goal is visibility.
Personal branding will give you an edge whether looking for a new job or pitching to a new client. If you are qualified, show people you are.
Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of branding when it comes to business. Building a well-recognized and respected business brand ads tremendous value and can create a significant competitive advantage. Just see “Apple”. So why, then, do so many entrepreneurs fail to recognize the value in building an equally recognized and respected personal brand?
In public relations, you are your own greatest asset. You are the face of your agency and clients whether you are pitching the media or attending an event. If you can promote yourself, your boss and your clients can trust you to build and promote their brand.
Personal branding, or the practice of individuals marketing themselves and their careers as brands, may seem to many an exercise in vanity. Doing things to promote your-self, such as having a personal website, a portfolio of professional headshots and an on-the-go personal pitch, is often considered the routine of self-interested people, from well-known celebrities to the annoying co-workers who boasts about themselves nonstop in the break room.
Done properly, however, a personal brand can be much more (or less) than just self-promotion. It can be a personal — and private — exercise in establishing confidence, credibility and courage as well as help you define priorities and focus on those aspects of your life you enjoy most.
At this point, it’s established that personal branding is important for a number of reasons. It provides a clear focus for personal development while establishing your-self as a thought leader. It also works wonders for career success, allowing individuals to pursue whatever it is that they’re passionate about. The mutual relationship between career success and personal branding is a truly unique dynamic that, when understood, has the potential to launch a person to new heights.
Step 1: Determine your area of expertise.
Before you can establish or develop your expertise, you have to decide what you want to be known for. The world of personal branding is flooded with competing entrepreneurs, so it isn’t enough to choose a general field like “marketing” or “human resources.” Instead, it’s best to develop yourself in a very specific niche. With a niche focus, you’ll have more opportunities to prove you know what you’re talking about, and while your potential audience might be slightly smaller, it will also be that much more relevant. Specificity is a trade of volume for significance.

Step 2: Start writing and publishing.
Once you know your area of focus, it’s time to start building your reputation, and the best way to do that is to show off your expertise. Content marketing is the best way to build a brand and reputation online; when people look for information, they tend to go back to sources that were helpful to them. If you can become a trusted source of information through your content, over time you’ll become collectively known as the expert of your specific field. It’s best to start your own blog and update it on a regular (at least weekly) basis, but it’s also a good idea to start guest blogging on other reputable blogs.

Step 3: Flesh out your social media profiles.
If content is the fuel for your personal brand, social media is the engine. Take the time to flesh out the details of your social media profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and make sure they’re consistently in line with your personal brand standards. Post updates regularly (at least once a day for Facebook and LinkedIn, at least a few times a day for Twitter), and don’t be afraid to re-post your older content for your new followers.

Step 4: Speak at events and develop case studies.
If you’re trying to win the business of your personal brand followers, it’s a good idea to work up a few case studies. Work with your past or present clients and co-workers to spin and present a solid narrative. People love real stories more than promises or speculation, so prove what you’ve done by giving them digestible case studies. You should also consider looking for speaking events in your area, which will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise while connecting with new audiences.

Step 5: Network, network, network.
On social media and in the real world, the key to sparking growth in your personal brand is networking. Engage with other individuals in your field, social influencers who have many connections and anybody else who could be valuable in helping you spread the word about your expertise. Attend professional networking events to meet influencers in your area, and in the online world, engage in community discussions whenever you can. The more opportunities you have to meet people and talk, the better.
A personal brand is like a garden. Once you lay the groundwork and plant the seeds, you’ll be in a great position to eventually reap the benefits. However, it still takes time and dedication to nurture and expand your creation. As you continue to develop your personal brand, stay consistent with your efforts, pay close attention to how your audience responds to your content, and hone your direction until your focus is razor sharp.

Mr. Paudel is Co-founder & management consultant at SNS Advisors and Director at Hotel Alice The Wonder Inn Ltd.


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