Personal Branding – Not the Latest Fad

Mary Rosenbaum | September 30th, 2009

What are the similarities between a job seeker, someone in career transition, and an entrepreneur? The basic and most important similarity is that each one has a personal brand. I spoke at a career seminar last week and after my talk someone came up and commented that personal branding is just the latest fad and that job seekers need more than words to secure a new position. No he’s wrong and yes he’s right.

Personal Branding is not the latest fad; in fact it’s been around for decades. The only difference is it didn’t have a name when it was applied to individuals as opposed to corporations. As a former recruiter for over 20 years, I instinctively knew how to “brand” my candidates by highlighting their differentiating qualities – the strengths that would enable them to stand out from those competing for the same job. At the time I called it positioning rather than branding.

Simply put, Personal Branding is being able to plant words that you want others to use when they describe or think of you. My work with clients helps them find those words that not only focus on their strengths, abilities, skills, and experience, but also targets how those words should be used and to whom. The adjectives they use to describe themselves reflects their value added. Your value added is the benefit your employer or client derives from working with you. It’s what distinguishes you from everyone else. It is the essence of your Personal Brand.

The definition of a Personal Brand is the reputation others hold of you in their hearts and minds. The words you plant become your reputation if you are consistent, clear, and constant in your messaging to others. A consistent message that clearly demonstrates your unique promise of value, your value added, repeated often to your target audience will result in gaining the visibility you need and want when opportunities arise.

Judging from the comments I receive from clients, having a brand makes them feel like the expert in their particular field or area of specialty. Identifying what it is and formulating the right words to convey their brand is hard work, but the rewards are worth it. So whether you are an entrepreneur, a job seeker, or someone in transition, knowing how to sell yourself so you stand out from the crowd is a critical ingredient to achieving your goals.

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