If I asked a lot of you where you wanted to work and how much you wanted to earn in the next 5 years, I’m sure you would have an idea. My next question would be, how do you want to get there and this is where I find that a lot of people stumble.
In today’s world where competition is fierce and good opportunities scarce, it’s time to realise that you are your own brand and you need to be intentional about moving yourself and your career forward.
Building a personal brand can help you do just that.
What’s a personal brand and why do you need one?
Your personal brand is a sum total of you- skills, expertise, experience, knowledge, values, etc. that make you unique. When you think about Michelle Obama, Patricia Bright, Joe Wicks– you can easily connect them to their area of expertise – that’s the power of a personal brand and you too can take build yours!
Wondering how to start?
The good news is you can take advantage of the internet to build your personal brand and position yourself for job opportunities, collaboration, and others. A digital personal brand makes you more accessible on a global stage
Here are my 10 trusted tips on building your personal brand and leveraging your digital footprint to ensure you get found.
1. Figure out your why
Why do you want to work in a particular industry? What are your strengths? How can you leverage them? These are questions you can answer by taking time to do self-reflection. This step is really important because it helps you get clear on your goals and know how to build your brand.
For example, two people may be great at digital communications. One may want to work for financial institutions and as such will need to research, engage and position himself to get found in that industry. The other person may have a passion to use digital comms skills to help start-ups tell their stories via digital platforms. So, while both have more or less the same skill sets, the driving force behind their brands are totally different.
2. Write it down
It’s always a good idea to write down your career growth plan as it helps keep you accountable to yourself. Write down projects you’d like to work on, courses you want to take, webinars you want to attend that will help build the brand you desire. I’ve often found that when you articulate your goals and aspirations, it becomes easier to plan and follow through.
3. Build your digital presence
You have to let the world know what you do and position yourself to get found. Linkedin for example is a great place to start. With over 500 million users globally, you want to have your piece of the pie. Showcase your work, share opinion on topical industry issues, connect with like-minded people and most importantly, engage. This way you begin to gain credibility in your sector and let people know what you do.
4. Carve a niche for yourself
You don’t need to be excellent at everything, pick a few things you are good at, polish your knowledge, research and become known for your expertise over time.
5. Put yourself out there
You need to actively seek opportunities to showcase your skills. You can start off with your alumni network, volunteering/interning for local firms, seeking opportunities to speak (start with an IG live or your own Youtube channel), opportunities to write etc. There are loads of ways to promote yourself, so you have to explore what works for you to stand out.
6. Prepare your elevator pitch
Know how to sell yourself. If you were asked to introduce yourself in two minutes, it’s not enough to say; I’m a 3rd year marketing student skilled in copywriting, editing and research. I’d love to work with great brands.
Instead, try this:
I’m a whizz at all things marketing, skilled in editing, research and copywriting as seen in my contributions to the Reading University blog, Careers.com and all things marketing, my personal blog. I’m passionate about tech and innovation and would be ready to work with companies in this sector.’ Can you feel the difference?
7. Be authentic
Authenticity is magnetic. I say this all the time. When you bring your real self to the table, people really like that. Don’t try to copy others. Communicate your brand in a way that is unique to you and you will attract the right opportunities
8. Consistency and Confidence
Remember that building your brand is not a one-off project. You need to be consistent, tweak as you go on and over time you will see your brand evolve. Start small, learn, connect and grow. Most successful people will tell you that they built their confidence with time and action and you can do so too. Don’t shy away from opportunities, challenge yourself, say yes to opportunities.
9. Quit negative self- talk
You need to adopt a winner’s mindset and let yourself know that you are capable. My quick tip is finding a mantra or affirmation that works for you, say it every day and begin to see yourself soar.
10. Don’t be afraid to fail
As easy as it sounds, we may not always get it right and that’s okay because our mistakes or failures help us grow and become better versions. If you don’t try, you don’t grow, so take action and keep at it.
Feeling pumped? You should be. Stop waiting for the right time and start building your brand. Remember, a powerful personal brand will take you places, open new doors of opportunity, increase your visibility and help you get recognised for the work you do.
Written by Michelle Okwudiafor – Personal brand and confidence coach, Founder of Career Invest
Bio- I give early career professionals tools to confidently position themselves for career growth.
Follow me on Instagram @career_invest