As young professionals, many of us have advanced education; a rich portfolio of work, volunteer and internship experiences; and a fiery passion for the cause. However, because we are in such a competitive environment, the aforementioned qualities are no longer the standard for differentiation. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple, almost everyone has the same qualities. Millennials are perhaps the largest, most diverse, and educated generation ever. This means the false assumptions of the past i.e. go to school, get a degree, volunteer, and get a job are no longer standards for differentiation.
The most effective strategy you can employ is to build a solid personal brand. Let’s start by understanding what a personal brand is. Dan Schawbel, the leading personal branding expert for millennials, suggests that personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to other people. Taken a step further personal branding is impression management. Leadership scholar, Gary Yukl defines impression management as “the process of influencing how others perceive you.”
We all have a personal brand, whether we want one or not. It is simply what others say or think about us. Take a moment and reflect. If I were to ask a friend, co-worker, or manager to describe you in a few sentences what would they say? The answer would be a reflection of the personal brand you’ve built.
Mastering the art of building a solid personal brand is your most effective tool because if the right people know who you are, you won’t have to find them, they will find you. This is true for building your career as well as building your business.
Here are a few tips on how to get started:
- Establish a social media presence to showcase your personal brand and display your interests, skills, and accomplishments. By far the best medium to do this on a professional level is LinkedIn, closely followed by Facebook. These social media platforms makes it so that thousands of people can “see” you and follow your work and leadership.
- Be Yourself. Authenticity is key. Your brand should be a reflection of who you are. Do you know what you believe? What you stand for? What your strengths and weaknesses are? These are key qualities that should bleed through. Some serious self-reflection is necessary if you wish to intentionally build a quality brand.
- Remain a student of the game. This means stay abreast on current trends affecting your industry. This allows you to begin positioning yourself as a relevant leader in your area.
- What you put online is a reflection of your values. With the lines being blurred between whats is personal and whats professional, coupled with the ever evolving stories of employees being fired for twitter and Facebook rants, I urge you to thoroughly vet what you put online. If you don’t want to be know as the beer pong champion frat boy, or the Friday night party girl- don’t put those kinds of images up. If you are soo compelled to do so, be sure you have appropriate privacy settings.
Let me know how I can help you in your personal branding journey. Start by scheduling a complimentary strategy session. Click here!