What I mean is, you can't think of personal branding in all the same ways you would think when marketing a business. The main reason for this is that marketing is a huge task with a lot of funding behind it. If you try to market yourself in the same way you would market a business you are likely going to wear yourself out. Another concern with treating yourself like a business is that you will lose your sense of authenticity. To truly brand yourself properly, you need to come off as genuine. If you aren't genuine, you are giving yourself a bad reputation, a bad brand.
You have probably heard the phrase, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," when people have talked about the benefits of networking. I would like to counter that it is not about who you know, but about who knows you; more specifically it is about who knows what you can do and do well. Let me explain with a short story time.
I have not gone through a traditional hiring process since around 2016. Once I got into my previous place of employment, I was recommended for jobs based on reputation alone. Currently, I am about to celebrate my two-year work anniversary in a position I obtained simply by figuring out how to stand out in online communities. For Millennials and older Gen Z, we have all been trained since high school to polish our resumes, prepare for panel interviews, and craft our elevator speeches. All of these are incredible tools, but they do not teach you how to create opportunities to capitalize on your practical strengths. Too many people are working towards a raise that might never come when they could be finding a work environment where they truly thrive.
Your personal brand, in short, is your reputation. Consider this, if someone asked one of your coworkers what type of person you are, would they describe you as hardworking? diligent? considerate? Everyday you make decisions about how you will present yourself to the world around you, and with each choice you create your own personal brand.
What does this mean for you?
Frustrating as it is, every person you interact with is making decisions about what type of person you are and what you are capable of doing. As someone with anxiety, this can be almost crippling to think about, after all, how can you make sure you are making the right decisions? How do you make sure you brand yourself the right way? The trick is to truly understand what branding is and how to use it to your advantage.
Let's be honest, branding is kind of a scary word that most people don't really understand unless you have a job in marketing or design. Personal branding, however, is an important tool for everyone in any field, regardless of your specific job. I'm here to tell you that you don't need to be afraid of personal branding. In this article, you will learn what personal branding is, what it isn't, and (as an added bonus) four easy ways you can start shaping your personal brand right away.
Personal branding is the power to shape how people perceive you and that power is already in your hands. Rather than thinking of branding as some daunting thing that only big businesses can do, start considering ways that you can start showcasing your individuality today. Don't be afraid to let yourself shine. When you start feeling like you don't fit into the corporate box, remember that you have the power to find yourself a better box. Better yet, you'll find a way to build a custom-tailored space, made just for you.
J. E. Forrest
Thanks for reading!
In an ideal world, what three words would you want other people to use to describe you? Share this blog post to your social media with those three words in the description.