I have written quite a bit over the years about Personal Branding and I wanted to share my experience when I first realised that I needed to think about it in terms of my search for a new role.
But first, for those who may not be that familiar with the idea let’s remind ourselves what Personal Branding and your “Personal Brand” is all about. Essentially it’s you! The things that make up your personal brand are your values, the beliefs and attitudes that drive you, how you behave and of course your knowledge, skills and abilities. It’s your online and offline image. The tried and tested way of understanding what your personal brand is is to find out what your reputation amongst those you work with, those you engage and interact with is.
That last point was my starting point when I started to take a look at how I was perceived by others especially those I interact with online through Social Media sites, membership sites and the like. I asked people what words they would use to describe me, how they perceived that I come across and what they thought I did for work. Whilst I was flattered by the positive comments I received I was very surprised when it came to the question of what I did professionally!
Having spent many years working in Learning and Development it wasn’t something that people generally associated with me. That was really useful feedback and ensured that I started to focus a little more on talking about an area I am truly passionate about. Indeed it was the inspiration/push I needed to create my Learning & Development Insights blog where I write on the topic and my passion for making learning accessible to all.
Even though we may have done no conscious work on developing a personal brand we do already have one. Your personal brand is what people think of when they see or hear your name. How do they react? What knowledge, skills and abilities do they think you have, how do they think of you as an individual.
All of those things are what make up your personal brand. When people hear or see your name do they see you as a positive person to be around who always has something interesting to say or share? Or, do they see you as someone who is always negative and looking for the worst in things and others? It can be challenging when you have lost your job to appear positive and focused but the reality is that you need to think about how you are perceived by others.
We all know that potential employers now have much more access to information about us than our CVs give them. They can see how we interact with others and our general attitude. Whilst some will say that social media sites are a snapshot of who we are and don’t necessarily show the full extent of our personality they do have the potential to create an impression and we want that impression to be the right one don’t we? So my recommendation would be that you keep the negative, critical moments away from the online world and in the comfort of your own home and with your nearest and dearest.
If you were to ask those people you interact with online or offline how they would describe you would their views match with how you want to be seen?