It takes effort and strategy to build a company brand, and the same is true of a personal one.
It doesn’t require bells or whistles like a personal website — though it helps — because a personal brand should be true to you.
As Shama Hyder points out in this Forbes article it’s no longer IF you have a personal brand, but WHAT your brand means. Whether you’ve been actively building one or not, everyone has one. Can you imagine a modern company without someone in charge of the brand vision? Take control of your brand with this simple exercise.
First, What is a Personal Brand?
Studies show that it takes 3 seconds for someone to make a lasting and complete impression of you. In the past, that’s been reserved to how you dress and what you look like, your energy level, and perhaps a (hopefully firm) handshake. In today’s digital world, you make an impression with a quick profile glance, a few image swipes, and maybe a tweet or two.
My favorite quote about personal branding comes not from a career coach, but from Adam Braun, who started the non-profit (or for-purpose, see below) Pencils of Promise.
Non is defined as “of little or no consequence: unimportant: worthless.” Worthless? Clearly, something needed to change. Why were we the only industry that introduced itself with a negative when we existed not to reduce profits, but to foster a profusion of purpose? Instead of introducing ourselves by touting what we didn’t do, shouldn’t we share what we did do? — Adam Braun, Promise of a Pencil
Your personal brand encompasses who you believe yourself to be, but also how others think of you. What words jump into their mind when your name comes up in a meeting?
Your 3 Word Self
If creating a comprehensive personal brand strategy intimidates you or feels too fake, try this quick 30-second exercise to ground yourself:
Write down the answers to these two questions:
- What 3 words would I use to describe myself when I first meet someone?
- What 3 words would someone else use to describe me having just met me?
Look at your answers. Do they match? What’s different? Why? For example, if you’re in sales, you want people to see you as “outgoing,” “entrepreneurial,” and “helpful,” for your character traits—but as you reflect, you might realize that someone else might say: “outgoing,” but might choose “friendly,” or “enthusiastic,” instead.
Choose 3 adjectives that you wish to portray, whether they match or not with your above list. They shouldn’t be too far off, because they should represent you. For example, if you’re shy, you won’t suddenly be outgoing.
If you’re stuck on some adjectives, you can find some great lists online here.
The first step to building your personal brand is knowing yourself and your personality.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses–and your 3 word self—allows you to start building your personal brand. Whenever you tweet, post, write, or introduce yourself with your 30 second pitch, think about those three words and what they mean to you and to someone else.
Ready for your next step? Check out this Ivy Exec webinar on personal branding to jumpstart your job search: