Although the term ‘brand’ is often associated with ‘business’, the two are different. A brand is something you’re constantly building because it’s the affirmation of who you are and what you love to do. Your personal brand goes before you and being intentional about what you want it to stand for shapes the opportunities you attract.
But where do you start? Content and branding expert Maya Elious has 5 tips to help you build a powerful brand.
This is an edited version of an article which first appeared on Forbes.
Tip 1: Understand your value
Your value isn’t based on who you work for or your position at a job; it’s based on what you’re able to bring to the table. What is it that you do extremely well, and who does it best serve? In business, we talk a lot about finding a ‘target audience’ and a ‘niche market’. This helps you narrow down the list of potential customers (or employers) you can best help, and who you would most enjoy working with. If you aren’t specific about the kind of work you do, or would like to do, people won’t know to come to you for it.
Tip 2: Show rather than tell
The more you understand your value, the easier it becomes to articulate and do it. If you’re considering a few job openings and you know you’d make a great employee, put yourself out there and let your work speak for itself. Consider going digital as part of your marketing plan. As you probably know, we are witnessing a shift to digital content- don’t get left behind.
Create a platform where people can see what you do. Don’t hesitate to promote your accomplishments because they give you credibility. People can’t connect with you if they don’t know where they can find you. Having a platform opens the door to more opportunities.
Tip 3: Understand how much your value is worth
Most people tend to estimate their pricing based on how much they’d like to make, so they usually end up short-changing themselves because their work brings a lot more value to an employer or client than they’re charging for.
In order to properly position yourself you have to know what problems the company is facing and how you are a part of the solution. What does a company stand to lose without having you? That is where your value lies.
Tip 4: Deliver on your value consistently and get testimonials
Don’t be the only one talking about your value, have other people do it too. You do this by consistently delivering – and going above and beyond in all the contracts you have. This is, ultimately, how you can build a loyal network of brand ambassadors and get people to refer you organically. Do what you do so well that other people start raving about you.
Ask your professional network (even your existing employer) to give you a testimonial or a ‘co-sign.’ Have them highlight what you do well and how you’re becoming a leader in your industry.
Tip 5: Increase your value through education
Once graduation is over and you have the degree(s), that’s when the real learning happens. You have opportunities to learn in hands-on environments with online courses, colleagues, mentors and offsite work events. Are you taking advantage of these opportunities to become the best in your industry?
Building a personal brand is important to make you stand out from among the hundreds – and potentially thousands – of other jobseekers out there. Ask yourself a simple question: what do you want people to know you for? Answering this honestly will help you define the brand you want – following the tips included here will help you get there.