Attention business owners, job seekers, professionals, those with jobs, and those without. How well established is your personal brand? How do others see you? Are you confident, cordial and courageous? Perhaps others see you as the “go-to” guy for quality client projects. Or are you the office slacker? All of these are examples of personal brands, both positive and negative. Personal branding is the act of marketing yourself and your career as a brand.
As most of us know, in our competitive business environment and job market, you need a solid personal brand in order to succeed. Your brand is present in every aspect of your professional life, including:
- Your attitude
- Your business card
- Your social media channels
- Your personal website
- Your attire
When you think of popular professional figures such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet and other industry giants, what comes to mind? You don’t envision an individual with sloppy clothing, poor grammar, or a poor and dismal attitude. Each of these successful individuals has their own unique personal brand. With that being said, what’s yours?
The Importance of Personal Branding
Your personal brand will define who you are in the workforce and within your career; choose wisely. A great personal brand should reflect your professional talents, character traits, and career goals. Considering that your branding efforts are directly correlated to your success, a strong and well-defined personal brand will:
- Establish your credibility
- Increase your opportunity for employment
- Showcase your professional specialties
- Provide you with a competitive advantage
No matter what industry you belong to, you need a personal brand in order to achieve your goals. Your brand is your image, or in other words, how your peers and other professionals will see you. To make a long story short, your personal brand (or lack thereof) can make or break your career. Once your personal brand has been established, be sure to actively maintain it and ensure that you are viewed in a positive light.
Unfortunately, some individuals have ruined their reputation and brand in a matter of seconds.
How to Ruin Your Personal Brand in the Blink of an Eye.
In order to build a superior personal brand, it takes time and energy. You’d think that after all of this hard work and effort, people would be very cautious when maintaining their personal brand.
Sadly, many professionals have ruined their brand in a split second and sometimes even in the public eye. Avoid these personal brand pitfalls in order to keep your personal brand in a positive light and your career on tracks.
Having a disrespectful attitude or outlook.
When you think of someone in the professional world, you tend to think of this person as confident, kind, determined and respectful. If you’re attempting to brand yourself as a professional, yet you have a disrespectful attitude or personality, it’s likely that most people will not want to conduct business or work with you. In addition to being beneficial for your personal brand, being a respectful and thoughtful individual will assist you throughout your career.
You could have the world’s greatest personal brand, but if you are notorious for being unorganized, people will be wary of working with you. A disorganized individual is known for missing deadlines, being unprepared for meetings or presentations, and turning in poor quality work. These are qualities and characteristics of individuals that companies do not want to hire. You could have the most impressive interview and land your dream job thanks to your personal brand, but the minute you display your lack of organization skills, chances are that you won’t be at the job for much longer. Your reputation as an unorganized individual will follow you and taint your established personal brand.
Social Media Failures
With the click of a mouse and a few taps of the keyboard, your professional brand can be destroyed for the rest of eternity. For example, the digital world has been on edge over a LinkedIn rejection that went viral due to some poorly chosen words, an overinflated ego, and the ability to “hide behind a keyboard”. If you haven’t heard about this mishap, you can read about it here. Long story short, a well-established professional in the Cleveland, OH community said some unnecessary comments to a young woman looking to network and improve her career. As a result, the rejection went viral and one women’s professional brand is now scarred for life.
When using social media, it’s best to be cautious about what you post. Try to stay within these guidelines:
- Do not post anything offensive.
- Think before your post.
- Remember that anything you post can be seen by the public eye.
Instead of being a disrespectful, unorganized individual with a knack for rude social media posts, your personal brand should reflect a positive, dependable, and professional individual.
Now that you understand the importance of a personal brand and also know how to completely destroy it, it’s time for you to build your own individual brand. Remember to avoid the pitfalls and maintain your image, and you’ll be on your way to a successful career in no time.