The term “personal brand’ has become a bit of a catch phrase in recent years, and you may be wondering exactly what it means to have or build a personal brand and how much it really matters to your career. The fact is that the idea of personal brand is nothing new. In trying to determine what made individuals unique, social scientist Erving Goffman coined the term “self presentation” in the 1950s. He defined it as, “conveying an impression to others, which it is in his interests to convey.” Goffman likened everyday interactions with others as being similar to putting on a stage performance that is tailored to each audience.
Today’s idea of personal brand is very much like Goffman’s idea of self-presentation. Consider social media for example. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram tend to be highly curated, with users only wanting to display the best photos, most witty posts, etc. In other words, social media users are trying to convey the right impression to others.
Despite the fact, that personal branding really is, in many respects, a performance, it is not about faking it till you make it. In fact, personal branding is most effective when it is authentic.
Personal Brand and Your Career
Personal brand has always been a factor in career success, but today it is more important than ever. Social media has made it nearly impossible for people to completely separate their personal lives from their professional lives. In a Workopolis survey, 93% of employers said that they checked out profiles of potential employees before hiring them. It is reasonable to assume, that candidates who had the best personal brands were more likely to land the jobs!
So, what do you need to do to ensure that your own personal brand is one that will help and not hinder your career? Here are a few tips:
- Be your authentic self.
Just because you are trying to showcase the best of yourself doesn’t mean you need to be fake. There is something magnetic about authenticity that makes people take notice. Letting people know that you are still a human being is attractive and it makes you more relatable.
Monitor your online image.
Go through your social media and remove any posts that don’t align with your personal brand. Your personal image, voice and messaging should be clear and consistent – much like the brand of any successful corporation would be.
If you are in the news on a regular basis, you may also want to set up a Google Alert with your name so that you can monitor what other media outlets are saying.
- Market yourself.
Actively promote yourself and your personal brand. You can do this by being active on multiple social media platforms (choose the ones that make the most sense for your brand). Engage with your audience but always present a consistent professional yet personable narrative.
You already have a personal brand.
Whether you love the idea of having a personal brand or whether you hate it, the truth is that you already have one. That brand is either resonating with potential employers or business contacts or it isn’t. To ensure that you have a brand that is beneficial to your career, you need to work on it. Work on finding your voice and developing a consistent narrative. Put yourself out there, and above all be yourself.