3 Steps to Creating a Personal Brand Strategy

Everything that you do or say contributes to your personal brand.

 Pamela Dixon , founder of SSi-SEARCH, discusses how to use your personal brand as a career magnet.

1. Realistic self-assessment.The starting point to building your personal brand is self-awareness. Accurately gauging what you value, what motivates you, and what strengths you can share are key to self-assessment. Connecting that with what you do helps guide your career. Establish what your key strengths and your differentiators are for your industry. Understand what you can uniquely bring to the table; that is the key ingredient to understanding your brand. When you understand this, you can better articulate your strengths for a role during an interview process, and later, more effectively leverage your strengths on the job.

2. Realistic assessment of how others see you.As a search executive, when we go through reference checks one of the things we look for is congruence between reports from references and information that the candidate has shared. When we see congruence between the two it confirms that there is accurate self- assessment and greater authenticity. However, we all have blind spots so it can be instructive to find out first-hand how others see you. You may want to engage in 360-degree feedback from your immediate work circle. Some studies show that the greatest accuracy comes from those that have known you 1 – 5 years. That is, long enough to get past initial impressions but not too long to develop a bias. The accuracy of these studies can be argued for employers, but you may find it helpful to see different perspectives of your performance as a guide for improvement or to create more congruence.

3. Communicate Consistently.When you are aligned with how you see yourself and how others see you, you will gain even greater traction when your communications are consistent with that view. There are many ways to communicate a message. If you say it is important to mentor but don’t engage in mentoring others, it may not send the message you would ideally like to send. Keep in mind that how you communicate says as much about you as what you communicate. Communicate succinctly and personably. Develop an elevator statement, including how your personal brand corresponds with your firm's brand. Everything that you do or say contributes to your personal brand.

Marketing Your Personal Brand

1. Increase Your Visibility.Take the initiative to attend industry conferences and participate in professional forums that increase your visibility in person and your professional networks. Increase your visibility and credibility through writing, including briefs, articles and/or blogging. Share your expertise.

2. Stay aware of the job market.Even though you may not be in the market for a new position, it is always a good idea to stay informed and stay aware of the shifts and changes in your industry. Network on line. Make recommendations to others when you see opportunities that may be of interest or simply a great fit. People love to return the favor! Stay abreast of activity in the market - assess your market value. It will come in handy in your current role as well.

3. Shine a light on others.One of the best ways to increase your exposure and improve your exposure is to assist, teach and mentor others. Teaching others, whether it is through an academic setting or industry forums, is a positive way to help others, extend your network and reinforce your knowledge. When you share your time, people will always remember you.

Personal branding is an ongoing process and your brand may likely evolve and change. The purpose of developing and communicating a personal brand extends beyond a job search and/ or enhancing your career. It is an introduction and an affirmation to your professional community and it can help move your organization’s objectives forward as well as your own.

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