The authenticity of character is more prevalent in our increasingly virtual world. The barriers which were once existent in B2B and B2C models have broken. With consumer access to more information than ever, transparency has become influential. The ability to connect with literally anyone in the world is at our fingertips.
With an increase in visibility comes the responsibility to build a positive image of ourselves in hopes of developing relationships with others. This is where branding comes into play. With many ways to network, it is important to establish a consistent portrayal of ourselves across digital and in-person communication mediums.
Although a personal brand and a professional brand are similar, they are different by the intended audience…
A personal brand represents you as a whole and applies to areas of life such as friendships and relationships. A professional brand appeals to people that have an interest in your career. These people include employers, coworkers, and professional contacts.
So how do you present yourself to others in a professional context? As our lives become more public-facing, we have to make strategic decisions. Here’s how to build a powerful professional brand to position yourself for career success in the marketplace.
Have "a Specialty"
What do you want to be known for professionally? Focus on a unique specialization to use as a point of differentiation. Are you very skillful in a niche area? If so, emphasize it across all professional communication mediums. If not, give it some thought and select something you wish to gain more expertise in then go learn it better.
Strengthen your Soft Skills
The ability to interact with others is just as important as your technical knowledge and educational background. These are called soft skills, and are useful to differentiate yourself from others. If you lack the ability to connect with others, your technical skills will be overlooked. Employers value individuals that can communicate with different personalities in the workplace. Therefore, these skills play an instrumental role in establishing your professional brand. You can strengthen your soft skills by making a conscious effort to network, socialize, and help others.
Tell a Story
Use a story to identify who you are and what you have to offer through your professional journey. Story telling can be as simple as creating a biography to as elaborate as building a personal website. It is known that stories communicate passion vs listed bullets communicate facts. Stories are memorable as they create emotional rapport with others. A great way to start developing your story is by listing out your skills and aligning them with real life examples. Check out these stories that illustrate skills.
Leverage Professional Social Platforms
The obvious example of a professional social platform is LinkedIn. In today’s world, this is the go to place for industry professionals to show off their professional brands. A great way to build credibility through this network is by creating a LinkedIn profile that is well thought out. In addition to this, interact with other industry professionals, create content that shows thought leadership, and comment on others content.
Having a powerful professional brand is necessary to stay alive in today’s competitive marketplace. Don’t know where to start? Ask yourself what you’re good at or how you do your best work. Start reading up on your field and contributing to related conversations through industry forums, blogs, or LinkedIn. Having an opinion and being able to speak within your field is a great place to start.
It’s not easy, but showing authenticity of character to the world is important for your professional success. To deliver, you have to share what’s helpful, provide insight, and connect with others through story telling.
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