Your Personal Brand and the Steps You Can Take to Create It.
There’s an interesting article today in AdAge regarding the importance of personal branding. While the author, Stuart Parkin, targets this piece towards ad agency personnel, the importance of building a personal brand transcends industries. Parkin states:
Personal branding is about propagating a reputation for doing something well. Ideally the skill set is highly differentiated, making the individual more valuable. Know what you do well, consistently delivering against these competencies and ensuring others are aware of them help an individual to maximize potential opportunities….
All true. Whether it’s writing your resume, putting together and on- or off-line portfolio, creating a targeted cover letter, or crafting an elevator pitch as to why someone should hire you, the overriding principal for success is to be able to conceive a personal branding message that makes you stand out among your competitors. It’s not just that you are a marketing manager, lawyer, sales person or editor. It’s that you are a marketing manager, lawyer, sales person or Editor who has achieved “x.” It’s not who you are but what you have been able to accomplish, produce and build.
If you are out of work right now, I’d like you to take a deeper look at yourself and what you have accomplished over the years. How do you think you differ from your peers? Can you quantify any results of your work with numbers? Can you think of any new concepts or big ideas that you came up with for the company’s you have worked for? Then, can you answer the “so what?” question regarding those efforts. You did x and so what? What were the RESULTS? If you can answer these questions, it will help you in creating a stronger personal branding message.
If you consider yourself to be one of the lucky ones and have a job, don’t rest on your laurels. I am working with a client right now on a resume who sent me some documents to help me to better understand who he is. In 2008 and now, for 2009, he wrote end-of-the-year progress reports outlining what he had personally accomplished during each fiscal session. Both write-ups were brilliant! They clearly illustrated how he had gone above and beyond the call of duty in terms of his day-in, day-out responsibilities. He’s now going to use these reports to negotiate for a bigger and better job.
I encourage you to take a good, hard look at your current job and write up a report as to what you have personally accomplished in 2009. Even if you don’t need this now, you will need it one day in the future and it’s best to write it down when it’s fresh in your mind. Once you see all that you have accomplished, I bet you’ll have an easier time differentiating yourself from your co-workers and you’ll certainly be one step further in honing your personal brand.