Just like any healthy relationship, it takes strong communication to make people aware of who you are and what you’re about. What’s your relationship status with your personal brand? If you’re checking the “it’s complicated” box, you’re not alone.
Your personal brand is complicated to deal with, both internally and externally. But in order to establish a healthy relationship between you and a potential employer, you must have a personal brand that satisfies the needs of the employer.
So how do you establish and effectively promote your personal brand?
- Become aware of yourself.
When you meet potential employers, most of the time they’ll make a judgement call on you within the first 10 seconds of the interaction. If you’re not aware of how to speak to them without promoting yourself, then you’re not doing it correctly.
When you think about the way you or your friends would describe you, what comes to mind? Becoming aware of your personal brand takes self-reflection and consistency in advancing yourself as well as others. To have a positive personal brand, you can’t just promote all of your accomplishments and call it a day. You have to be open to people’s backgrounds and listen to the advice they have to give. Be cognizant of what others are processing as they interact with us and then use that for future reference.
- Go beyond social media, but still utilize its tools.
First, make sure your social channels are clean. There shouldn’t be any pictures of those late nights in college looking unprofessional. The personal brand you want to establish to the greater public is showing you at your best.
Second, showcase the great things you’ve done on campus, for the community or within organizations you’ve served. Employers love seeing involvement outside of school.
Lastly, use social media as a tool, not as a way of interacting with employers. Employers want to see those handwritten notes, phone calls and face-to-face interactions. The personal touch shows initiative and drive.
- Be consistent with your brand in all interactions.
According to a survey done by the Glenn Llopis Group, less than 15 percent of people have defined their personal brand and less than 5 percent are living it consistently at work.” The survey also states that 70 percent of professionals believe they have defined their personal brand and 50 percent believe they are living it.
You cannot have a positive personal brand if you are seeking only self-advancement. Advancement comes through serving and listening to others. It comes from being open-minded to change in ourselves and constantly critiquing our everyday interactions. Self-reflection is a powerful tool that will enable you to see areas of your strengths and areas for improvement.
So when it comes to establishing and maintaining your personal brand, be open to constant change. Your brand is never set in stone and should evolve each and every day, with the interactions and reflections that you see in yourself.
Julia Cione is a senior majoring in public relations at The University of Alabama (UA). She is currently an editorial writer for Platform Magazine, an online student-run publication at UA that is sponsored by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.