There’s a lot of hype at the moment about knowing your personal brand. Let’s break it down – what is a personal brand, and why is a personal brand important in career search as well as managing your career?
What is a personal branding statement?
When I coach career and leadership coaching clients, we often talk about a personal brand – a simple 1-2 sentences that speak to: 1) your unique gifts and 2) how you add value. Notice I put the emphasis on simple. I have noticed there is a tendency on resumes these days to put a few objective lines at the top of a resume and throw in every buzzword known to man, in the desperate hopes of seo optimization and hoping that something you say will resonate with someone.
“I seamlessly utilize my core strengths of teamworking, project management, financial acumen and strategic thinking to empower global organizations to create cost beneficial forward-thinking solutions on the cutting edge of digital transformation that drive efficiency, effectiveness and create a happier and healthier workforce.”
This doesn’t work, just in case you were wondering, and often recruiters dismiss this as unnecessary fluff. The paragraph long sentences also read like something out of a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, and I didn’t like the Scarlet Letter the first time I read it.
“I utilize my project management skills to help organizations deliver efficient, effective, digital solutions.”
Much better – easier to read, easier to comprehend, and easier to tell the story of YOU.
Why is a personal brand important in career search?
Your resume then should speak to this statement. Imagine you’re telling a story. And the personal branding statement is the 30,000 foot up airplane view of you and your career. Your resume should then read to explain how you have managed to do this for the organizations that have been graced by your amazing presence. Consistency is key, and it’s super helpful in getting someone to remember you and what you bring to the table. Besides, human beings are natural story tellers. We like them, it’s our way of summarizing things and making sense of the world.
Why is a personal brand important in managing your career?
But I’m not switching jobs, so what does this matter? Does this mean I don’t need to worry about a personal brand?
Because in your day job, you’re always marketing yourself, always selling yourself, for that next all-important project, that next promotion. And if you’re not the guy or gal on management’s radar for that particular role based on what they know about you, you’ll get overlooked.
Ask yourself this: How do you want to be perceived in your organization? What do you want to be known for?
And then think about: How you are actually perceived in your organization? What are you known for?
Better yet, ask a few trusted souls to answer those last two questions on your behalf. You might be surprised at the answers you get.
If the two match, great. Then you’re not just a wishful thinker, you’re actually walking the talk. If they’re not consistent (which is the case for most people) you’ve got some work to do on that front.
I love a good quote, and the bottom line is that it almost always comes down to the immortal words of the Cheshire cat, who said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Words to remember. Think of a personal branding statement like a honing device. Otherwise, who knows what people are saying about you?
Shelley Pernot is a leadership and career coach who is passionate about helping her clients discover their strengths and talents and find a career that utilizes them. Reach out to me here for a free consultation to learn more about the coaching process and how it may benefit you!