When you think about your brand, what do you visualize? A consummate professional? A wise mentor? A dedicated employee? A motivational inspiration? Or someone who needs a few professional touch-ups?
A personal brand is loosely defined as that rare combination of strengths, talents, abilities, experiences, style, and image that sum you up. It’s what people think of when they think about you—what they say you’re good at, or known for, or how they would describe you in words.
Brands are important to business because they provide the consumer with an identifiable expectation of what that company stands for and what expectations will (or won’t) be fulfilled. The same is said for you and me. Whether we like it or not, people make assumptions about us based on what they read on our resume and LinkedIn profile as well as what they see when we walk in the room or speak during a meeting. These collective assumptions should sync with your personal brand if you want others to see you in the light you intend to project.
What have you achieved? When you look at your credentials, you should be pretty darn proud. As you reflect on all that you’ve achieved in your career, you’ll probably realize that you’re not giving yourself enough credit. Please don’t focus on the minutiae: the mistake made yesterday or the one item that hasn’t been checked on your to-do list. Rumination isn’t healthy and, if carried too far, can lead to anxiety-provoking health issues. Looking back or wishing for more isn’t fair to you. Instead, concentrate on what you have achieved and where all of those great experiences will take you next.
What’s your online impression?It may be time to review your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to ensure that your personal brand is in sync with what you want to portray. Recently, I worked with a vice president who was looking to transition her career. While her image was polished, her words were weak. Grammar mistakes aside, her social media presence did little to indicate that she had achieved great milestones in her career. Instead, her profile and commentary were more focused on her affinity for Game of Thrones and disdain for certain political parties. While I applauded her fun side and her “voice,” I cautioned her not to alienate potential career decision makers. Her light was being hid under a bushel of fodder that couldn’t help (and may only hurt) her career trajectory. There’s a healthy balance between arrogance and meekness, opinions and offensiveness; and while we certainly need to let our personal brand flag fly, we need to make sure that all of these things together show us in our best light and yes, our brand.
What do you radiate? “Fake it until you make it” may seem like a hollow piece of advice, but science proves that when you portray an image of positivity, your disposition will soon follow. It’s amazing how much our body language can positively (or negatively) affect our attitude and those of others. Maybe you think you’re a “glass half empty” kind of person rather than the “glass half full“ type, but research shows humans are overly optimistic and are drawn to others who radiate light and positivity. We are also drawn to positive body language and smiles. While you don’t need to make this a 24-hour habit (who could really?), you do need to reflect on how authentically radiating positivity can boost your personal brand.
How to Be Career Happy? Polish Your Personal Brand