That exciting time of the year has arrived, where recent graduates are on the prowl, looking to sink their teeth into a corporation and learn the ropes. Not only do they want to grab a bite, but they want to leave their mark; their brand. They want to be remembered after the interview is complete. They also want to make an impression at networking events.
Building your personal brand is one of the most profitable things you can do to achieve a return on investment to your career. Build your career like you would assemble a house.
- Focus on constructing your frame
- Followed by decorating and filling the interior
- Then focus on the outer landscaping.
It is imperative that you give yourself a completive advantage by having a clear, consistent brand. When your brand is consistent it will seem genuine. When you have succeeded in creating a genuine brand, you will be remembered.
1. Constructing your Frame
In order to construct a solid frame you need to ask yourself what constitutes your personal brand. A rock-hard frame isn’t something that can be formed over night. However with conscious effort, goal setting and personal drive you will be well on your way to formation. To form and uncover your true passions you need to dive in, head first. You need to become an expert in your field. If your industry is marketing you should be attentive to all forms of marketing including but not limited to inbound, email, e-commerce, B2B, B2C, digital, and brand marketing. Becoming educated in all aspects of your industry will increase your confidence. Increased confidence will allow for successful first encounters and networking efforts.
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?… whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”- Steve Jobs
Live each day like it was your last. If you find yourself comfortable, coasting and bored, Wake up! It’s time for a change. Make it your duty to build a captivating personal story. Experience new things, cultures, food, and always be true to yourself.
Be sure to consistently challenge yourself. New challenges will generate innovative ideas and open doors for creativity. Thinking outside of the box and not being afraid to voice your opinion will set you apart. “Being timid, shy and afraid to take risks will ensure you have a successful career.” Said no one, ever! Remember that accepting failure and moving on can help relish your future successes. Learning from your mistakes and taking notes for your next endeavours will allow you to become a better built brand.
“Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive.” -JK Rowling
By focusing on the present and not being too caught up in the future will allow for a happier, stress free life. This happier self adjustment will seep through your pores and radiate out through your smile. This will help build long lasting professional relationships.
All of these components are crucial to building a sturdy frame. Once the frame is built you can focus on filling and decorating the interior.
2. Decorating and Filling the Interior
The best way to fill the interior of your mind is with books. Read a lot. Read life changing, business or fictional books. Both genres have the ability to be powerful and influential on future life decisions. After consulting with my team here at Powered by Search we compiled a list of influential books that have made an impact on our personal brands.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Cohen
- What Color is your parachute by Richard N Bolles
- The Greatest Sales Man in the World by Og Mandino
- Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell
- Nudge by Richard H. Thaler
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Choice Paradox by Barry Schwartz
Start writing! Write a blog, letter or email. Write anything that will allow for the doors of creativity and inspiration to be open. Build your vocabulary and use new, “ostentatious” words. Employers like to see published writing, not only does it demonstrate effective communication skills but builds your portfolio.
Learn to listen. Listening is the hardest skill to acquire. Regardless of your profession, listening to the needs of your client will play an essential role in maintaining a virtuous career.
Don’t compare yourself to others. You are equipped with your own unique tools. Each tool can accomplish something extraordinary. Find those shiny tools and use them at every given opportunity. Know that they are your unique tools that can never be stolen. Your colleagues will have a set of their own tools that they will use to succeed. Hammer away together, and build something magnificent.
The framework is up and strong as ever. The interior is overflowing with one-of-a-kind gems; some antique, some new and some reupholstered. Now, it is time to work on the outer shell.
3. Build the Outer Landscape
Professional appearance, clothing, and shoes are minuscule elements that comprise the construction of the outer layer. However, these elements will help you at any networking event. Always make sure you look the part. Focus on making genuine, real connections, while attending networking events. Everyone that you give your business card to, should be people that you have found common ground with.
Seek opportunities at every corner. Think of ways you and your newly acquired collaborator can mutually assist one another. When networking, be clear and consistent about your qualifications and experience. People prefer honesty over exaggeration.
Seek advice from those more experienced or even equally experienced. Advice and constructive criticism can help build a strong brand. Always surround yourself with positive people. Positive energy is contagious.
Build and promote your on-line presence with social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Quora, and StumbleUpon. Social media is your digital passport. Set up Google Authorship, which will aid in endorsing your writing. Actively build twitter relationships and comment on industry related blog posts. To take it a step further, create a domain in your name, and upload a professional picture with a small bio write up.
Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. A new haircut, new clothes, new look, new approach on life and new tools can surprisingly make a dramatic impact on your life and the way you view yourself; which will affect your overall attitude and outlook.
Build your frame, decorate the interior, and never forget about the exterior. Most importantly build a great personal story along the way. Your personal story is what will set you apart from others. Your personal story is something that will always be yours and can never be taken away or duplicated. Remember to always take risks. With great risks come great rewards.