Promoting your Personal Career Brand

By Sharon Graham.

Even with all the resources available these days, far too many career practitioners are reluctant to promote their own career brand.

Granted, if you don’t have a strong personal career brand in the first place, you don’t have a foundation. So, there is nothing to promote. Let’s assume for a moment, however, that you have a personal career brand, which you really believe distinguishes you from others with similar qualifications. What needs to happen next is that you live that brand.

  • The first step is awareness. The efficacy of your brand exists in other people’s perception, not yours. Every time you interact with others, they are seeing your brand in action. Consider the work you do with your clients. Either what they perceive will show them what makes you special, or it will diminish your value. When clients understand your distinguishing factors such as your credentials and knowledge, they are more open to listening and learning from you.
  • Your personal career brand is about how you interact with others. Understand the recipient’s motivations as well as your own. What your employer, colleagues, and clients see reflected in your brand must match their own needs and interests. If you are not on brand, you won’t be effective. Vigilantly and proactively make adjustments in your behaviors and actions to address any concerns.
  • Your personal career brand needs to be replicated consistently. Capture varying iterations of your brand to deliver your introduction, supporting stories, and other messages when required. Ensure that you can highlight what you bring to a wide range of challenges you may encounter at work and in your leisure time.
  • Know what stories are best. You have many achievements to tell that will reflect your brand. Be sure to adjust your selection based on your listener’s drivers. This is a great way to create rapport. For example, if you are working with a client who is struggling in his or her career transition, you might be able to draw from your own experience to provide a meaningful and inspiring story about resilience.
  • Think about where and how you will promote your brand. Based on your approach, would you, as a client, employer, or colleague, be interested in your message? If not, then consider how you can strengthen your value proposition.
  • Practice the approaches and behaviours of your brand in all your dealings. If your brand is about community engagement, for example, then make every encounter – from the custodian in your building to the local convenience store cashier – a highly positive interaction. If social networking and building relationships is your brand, then you should easily be found online on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Be self-aware when it comes to your brand. You never know who may be watching or telling others about you. Weeks of networking and broadcasting your brand can be ruined by one key miscommunication or missed opportunity.
  • Keep on developing your career brand. As your work, life, and personal experiences evolve, so your brand may shift, become more polished, or grow exponentially. Be sure that what you are promoting is current, apt, and a brand that makes you proud.

The “how” of brand promotion – through social networking, in your documents, using email or texting, face-to-face, or in phone communications – is crucial. If you are not comfortable with the whole concept, you will fail to impress the very people you hope to get to listen. Be sure that the first person you convince of the power of your brand is YOU.

Here are 20 things you can start to do today to build and propagate your career brand.

Photo CPC Members: Daisy Wright presenting to Janet Barclay, Wayne Pagani and Sharon Graham at an Excellence and Innovation meeting.

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