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Ask a Career Coach - Develop a Personal Brand

Ask a Career Coach - Develop a Personal BrandOne discussion topic that has been actively discussed with our Charlotte and Atlanta career coaching consultants is how to best advise our clients on the development of a personal brand.

First, let’s start with a definition. Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding and author of “The Brand Called You” defines it as:

“Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from the crowd by identifying and articulating their unique selling proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility advance their careers and build self-confidence”.

This definition is the best one that our team has found in terms of its clarity, focus and simplicity.

Let’s break down the three key elements of the definition to better explain how to create a dynamic and impactful personal brand.

Differentiate Yourself With A Unique Selling Proposition

Just like any leading brand in the marketplace, you need to be able to separate yourself from the crowd by explaining what makes you unique and worth learning more about. Think of it this way – in an interview, how would you answer the question “why should I hire you?” To best answer that question, think about what skills and accomplishments you have that enable you to confidently say that you can increase their sales, create more new products, improve their systems, etc. There are a lot of candidate options out there – why are you the one that they should consider?

Consistently Leverage Your Personal Brand Across Multiple Platforms

Brands need to build awareness to grow and they use various communication platforms to connect with their consumers. A personal brand has to accomplish the same objective. In the case of communication platforms, consider how you are seen on LinkedIn, Facebook, your own personal website, your blogs, your social shares and any other social media platform. You should also consider your resume and cover letter as marketing tools. The key is to craft a consistent message that reinforces your core value.

Establish A Reputation and Build Authenticity

Nothing can kill a brand quicker than a false promise. In developing your personal brand, you need to build authenticity by communicating only the skills and accomplishments in which you have a demonstrated history. Please avoid the overstatements, truth stretching or claims that you “know you can do it” even though you have never had any experience in that area. Think about the recent events surrounding NBC news anchor Brian Williams and all of the problems he brought upon himself by stretching the truth. Do not let this happen to you.