By Keenan J. Emery, VanNatta Public Relations
In a digital era, your personal brand has never been more important. Look at celebrities who have strong personal brands: LeBron James, Ellen Degeneres, Beyonce. Though wildly different people, they all have clear similarities that have helped them to find success.
In your career, it is no different. Having a strong personal brand will help you find better jobs, draw more clients, go on more dates, etc. By doing so, you become known not just for your talent or ability, but for your values, character, and personality.
So, before you begin, you need to define your brand. What is it going to be? Funny? Inspirational? What do you want to be known for, and what will make you stand out? Maybe even more importantly, what traits and characteristics already make up your personality? Don’t necessarily stretch to create a new you, but work with who you are. Do you have leadership strengths? Are you drawn toward serving others? Incorporate these into the brand that you’re building.
One great way to tease out your unique traits and aptitudes is to take a personal assessment test. There are many options available such as Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, The Big Five Personality Traits, or StrengthsFinder, just to name a few.
Once you have your vision identified, focus on these tactics:
If you have social media or did when you were younger, you probably posted something you regret. Or maybe your mom posted a picture of you with a bowl cut. One of the first things you should do when applying for jobs or starting your career is to do a deep scrub of all your past social media posts. Go through every post, comment, and picture and delete anything even borderline inappropriate.
Potential employers, coworkers, and clients will look at your social media. Don’t let the crazy snapshots of your youth be the reason you lose out. How many political campaigns have you seen derailed because the opposition pulled up some dirt from a social media page? Don’t let this be you.
Once your social media is scrubbed, make it a goal to post three times a week. Make the majority of your posts business/professional and a few more personal. This establishes you as an industry leader and a professional, and also humanizes you.
You will learn more in your career than you would in a classroom. A great way to increase your value is through continued education. You will certainly learn much once you are working in your desired industry. However, a great way to grow your personal brand is through professional development.
This can mean reading more books, watching webinars, or attending industry-related classes. If you work in a field that requires CE (continuing education), then you are already doing this. In addition, local universities typically have one-time, affordable classes that you can take.
This development helps grow your brand because not only does it make you more knowledgeable and skilled, but also positions you amongst like-minded peers and helps you to build a broader network.
Keenan J. Emery is an Account Manager at VanNatta Public Relations, a PR, event planning, and consulting firm in Salem, Oregon. PRSalem.com