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In a business writing class I took during college, one of my professors was teaching a lecture on building a personal brand. He asked me to give a presentation to my peers and through some research and personal experience, I developed a few key points that are applicable to various audiences.
When a new company tries to get its name out there, brand recognition is at the front of mind. Large organizations like Apple, Nike and Samsung have been developing the brand for years. But it has paid off! Think about it…when you read those names, you thought of: products, culture, influence, marketing…anything that encompasses the brand. You are more likely to buy from and trust a brand that has higher recognition.
Now think about your own brand. What do you bring to the table? How do you want people to think of you? What makes you unique? When you understand the answers to these questions, you can start building your own brand. As you interview for jobs or network at events, it’s important to know your own brand and be able to share it with others. If you haven’t thought about it much, here’s a few ideas to start crafting your own brand.
1. Take an Inventory of Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the most common (and my personal favorite) interview question is “What is your greatest strength/greatest weakness?” You have to know a concise answer to this question. Sit down and think about these personal attributes and brainstorm how you could talk about them. Monster.com made this video about addressing weaknesses and indicating how you overcome them.
Want to learn more? Go check out the article from Monster.com this video was made for.
2. Know What You Want
A part of your brand is knowing what you want from the future. Develop goals for your education, career and personal life. Understand where you are on the path to achieving them and see what you need to do in the interim. For suggestions on setting SMART goals, read the article I wrote earlier this year. When you know what you want, you can convey greater confidence in who you are today.
3. Establish a Brand Statement
Once you’ve done some introspection, it’s time to condense it into the most valuable information. Developing an elevator pitch (a statement you could share with someone of importance in under 30 seconds) is a good start. For those just starting out, maybe creating a brand statement may be more helpful. Dummies.com gives a very simple formula that can help you start:
- Your specialty — who you are
- Your service — what you do
- Your audience — who you do it for
- Your best characteristic — what you’re known for
Write it down and then practice, practice, practice. You should know your brand statement inside and out. It may be also helpful to develop variations on it that you might use in different situations (especially for those of you that wear many hats).
Once you have done these three steps you are ready to go out there and “sell” your personal brand. Walt Disney once said, “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” Allow your personal brand to tell people who YOU are. Be professional, but don’t hide your personality. Employers want people with unique perspectives.
I’d love to hear back from you! Try developing your personal brand statement and put it in the comments below.