6 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Personal Brand
Brands are most often associated with large corporations. However, it’s not just big businesses that have brands. Individual professionals have a brand as well. In fact, your personal brand plays a huge role in how successful of a career you have. In the modern business world, managing your personal brand is essential. Here are six practical and effective ways to improve your personal brand.
- Figure out what you want your personal brand to be. You will have a hard time enhancing your brand if you aren’t sure who you are, what values you stand for, or what image you want to present to the professional world. Take some time to think about what is most important to you in your career. Now consider your biggest strengths. Reflect on what you want to arise in people’s minds when they think of you.
- Craft your story. People with a strong personal brand have a clear idea of their professional journey. They can tell a simple but compelling story of where they started, where they are now, and where they are headed. The narrative force of their story paints a clear picture of what they are all about as a professional. Work on establishing your own story of your career. If you don’t do it yourself, people will fill in the blanks on their own.
- Take care of your appearance. A big part of your personal brand is how you look. Your appearance forms an immediate impression on others. While how you dress isn’t the most important element of your personal brand, it can sink you if you don’t meet the basic standards for office-appropriate dress. You need to have a well-put-together, professional appearance. Wear clothes that fit. Never look sloppy.
- Get LinkedIn right. LinkedIn is the primary way your professional image is shaped online. Today, having a quality LinkedIn profile is essential to having a strong brand. Take care of the basics. Fill out your profile completely. Upload a high-quality, professional picture of yourself that was taken recently. Present your major career accomplishments in detail, quantifying your achievements as much as you can. Update your LinkedIn regularly.
- Get the credit you deserve. In a highly competitive business world, you often have to be your own biggest proponent. That doesn’t mean stepping on anyone’s toes. Rather, it just means making sure you receive the respect you have earned. If your performance on a project is excellent, you deserve credit for that. Don’t assume others are aware of what you are contributing. Often, you will have to speak up to get noticed for your achievements.
- Produce at a high level. Ultimately, the strength of a personal brand has to be backed by something solid. If you build up high expectations but can’t live up to them, your personal brand will falter. Worse, your entire career will struggle. That’s why building your brand honestly is essential. Convincing others you are more capable than you really are won’t pay off. Working diligently, being goal-oriented, prioritizing well, and using your time efficiently are the basic keys to maximizing productivity, and thus to good personal branding as well.
You already have a brand — and that brand is already determining how you are perceived by colleagues, bosses, clients, potential employers, and anyone else you encounter in your professional life. The question isn’t whether or not you have a brand, but what you are doing to shape and influence that brand. You must take active steps to improve your brand if you want your career to be all it can be.