Maybe you did not build it consciously, but let me assure you – you do have a personal brand already. Even if you have no Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. account (I hope you do, though). It is the way you communicate with people, the way you talk and walk and dress and express your attitudes to just about everything, that is part of your personal brand.
If you find yourself in a position of a jobseeker, you are suddenly presenting your image to a whole new audience that – unlike your friends and family – does not accept you as you are, but rather measures you by their standards. As intimidating as that may sound, personal branding is not rocket science and you can get it right with just a little effort.
Reflect thoroughly on what you are currently communicating to the potential employers. If you are not self-aware about your personal brand, then do not be surprised if others will misunderstand your message, or not get it altogether.
Personal branding is an outward manifestation of what is going on inside, so it is quite crucial to start by examining yourself – your character, values, passions and aspirations. Are these in alignment with what you are showing the world? You might be a great mediator or an eloquent activist for a cause you care so much about, but nobody will ever know if all you share with the world are Instagrammed dinners and holiday pictures. Be careful not to let your sense of self shrinkto what you post online, because then you are selling yourself short.
If you are not quite sure how to distinguish yourself, or which area you should focus on, try to find out where your personal and professional passions overlap. Getting a job in that area is most likely going to bring you satisfaction. For example, if you are an aspiring photographer and you enjoy nature in your spare time, you would probably find a career of an outdoor photographer very fulfilling. Focus on what feels authentic to you and what you hope to convey further. Build your profile, speak, write and share your ideas about topics that interest you and – most importantly – add value. Remember that being brilliant is of no use if you are anonymous, so yes, you might have to toot your own horn sometimes.
So, is your personal brand communicating what you want it to, or is it secretly sabotaging you? Pay close attention to how people react to you. When you discover what they appreciate the most about you, bring it every time. Consistency is important. If you are extremely friendly one day and then reserved the next, people will get mixed signals. And above all, work on building your network, because the bigger your network, the bigger your reputation. Veronika Bacova