By: Jade Nunes
Business Development Manager at FITCH
Being a young professional is hard work. You have to put thought into what you wear, how you present yourself, deadlines, hours, work trips, client satisfaction… this list goes on and on. And that’s on top of maintaining some semblance of sanity and a personal life.
So naturally, by the end of the day or week, many of us just don’t want to do anything more. We shut off our work brain and put it on the shelf until we need to use it again.
In this day and age we’re seeing new expectations arise in the professional realm. In addition to your everyday responsibilities, many young professionals are feeling the pressure to build their own personal brand.
Let’s dive into what personal branding is, answer some questions you may have and address its relevance to you.
Wait… But I’m not a YouTube star?
When we hear the term personal branding, many folks will think that only relates to people who are trying to sell a service, or product, of their own design. We think of entrepreneurs branding their work child with a logo and a tagline.
That’s not ‘personal’ branding.
To tell you the truth, when I first heard it, I thought of Jenna Marbles. She’s funny, crass, has an aesthetic that she maintains, and has been successful on YouTube doing nothing more than just being herself in a very ‘in your face’ kind of voice. But let’s be real, we’re not all trying to be YouTube stars.
Personal branding in the professional context is essentially the ongoing process of building an image and message around you and who you are. Think of it like “Street Cred.” It’s your earned and maintained external perception that is less about where you work and all about how you work. It includes your successes, goals, passions, beliefs, how you interact with people online or in person. It’s being involved in the community and your company with an outward appearance that goes beyond the clothes you wear.
But why should I care about having a personal brand?
Let me tell you a quick personal story:
I was approached by my current employer via LinkedIn. I had a decent LinkedIn presence that I kept up to date and active by sharing the occasional post and picture from networking and charity events. What I didn’t do was post “Hey world - I’m looking for a new job.” In fact, I wasn’t looking for one at all. But I believe in keeping your doors always open, and now, I’m two years in with a global design and retail consultancy. My dream job, you could say. My network is ever expanding and I look forward to what other doors will open for me in my professional journey.
(Still reading? Did you notice what I just did? By telling you my story, I added equity to my personal brand and built my network by one more person! High-five!)
Some facts for you -
There are over 225 million members on LinkedIn. It is the ultimate personal branding platform and its features will help you build a personal brand from the comfort of your couch.
According to Forbes, ‘job hoppers’ who move an average of every two years at an employer are projected to earn 50-percent or more in lifetime savings versus those who stay at the same place for an extended period of time.
Entrepreneur reports that company employees have 10 times the amount of social media followers than the company itself, making the employee one of the most important pieces of any company marketing plan.
Sales reps who use social media as part of their sales techniques by building a personal brand outsell 78-percent of their competitors and peers.
It is statistically proven that it takes five to seven impressions for a person to remember a brand. So you have to be active in your efforts to build your brand!
So get out there and start building! Be a strong advocate for yourself, an ambassador for your company, and gain attention from potential clients and / or job opportunities.
Okay cool I’ll bite, but I don’t know where to start.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, make one! And share this article on it. Join a networking group (like GET Phoenix!) and attend events. Follow influencers and interact with them on your social networks. Try your hand at blog writing. Connect with a professional coach. Volunteer. These are all things that you can do to begin building a personal brand today.
The most important thing is to just be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.