IMNZ

WHAT IS YOUR PER­SONAL BRAND?

NZ Business - - CONTENTS - Alisa Bartholomew is the founder and prin­ci­pal coach at Ca­reers by De­sign where she spe­cialises in coach­ing so­lu­tions that help clients shape their ca­reer and nav­i­gate the job mar­ket. She has more than 18 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence lead­ing ini­tia­tives that span jo

If we want to take con­trol of our ca­reer mov­ing for­ward, hav­ing a clear vi­sion around the type of brand we want to be known for is cru­cial, writes Alisa Bartholomew.

Per­sonal brand is quite sim­ply the brand that is you and what you stand for. Whether you are a full-time em­ployee, con­trac­tor, busi­ness owner or con­sul­tant defin­ing who we are and how we de­scribe our brand can be re­ally chal­leng­ing for peo­ple.

The rea­son that we need to be think­ing about our per­sonal brands, is be­cause with, or with­out, our in­put there will be one be­ing cre­ated.

Peo­ple will be mak­ing judge­ments and have per­cep­tions of who we are. If we don’t think about it, and own it, we run the risk of a brand be­ing cre­ated that doesn’t align with our ca­reer val­ues, tal­ents and as­pi­ra­tions.

And if we want to take con­trol of our ca­reer mov­ing for­ward, hav­ing a clear vi­sion around the type of brand we want to be known for is cru­cial.

When I have a client who is sud­denly con­fronted by hav­ing to move into the job mar­ket af­ter 20 years, they haven’t nec­es­sar­ily thought about how they are go­ing to ar­tic­u­late their brand to the mar­ket­place.

And sud­denly they are con­fronted with need­ing to talk about them­selves to their net­works, re­cruiters and HR man­agers. When peo­ple haven’t been an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in con­trol­ling the nar­ra­tive of their own brand and strug­gle to ar­tic­u­late what this is, they are left with a more dif­fi­cult bat­tle to cre­ate one.

Whether you are think­ing about ca­reer pro­gres­sion, mov­ing from your work­place or deal­ing with re­dun­dancy, hav­ing an ex­ist­ing brand that you have been in­ten­tional about makes life so much eas­ier.

It read­ies us for change and we are able to take op­por­tu­nity on and gain faster mo­men­tum in the devel­op­ment of our pro­fes­sional and lead­er­ship brands.

Part of be­ing suc­cess­ful with cul­ti­vat­ing our brand and be­ing in con­trol of our own nar­ra­tive is know­ing and ac­cept­ing who we are. This helps us cre­ate a con­sis­tent brand pres­ence with col­leagues and con­tacts. It can be quite a bal­ance man­ag­ing the key as­pects of who we are and mak­ing sure that these align with what we pro­mote in our ca­reers.

DEFIN­ING YOUR BRAND

How do we de­fine our brand then? To work out what your per­sonal brand is, spend some time think­ing about: • How do you want to be seen in the work­place?

• What de­scrip­tive words do you want other peo­ple to use to de­scribe you? • How do you want oth­ers to think and feel about you?

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber there is no right or wrong an­swer for how you want to seen – we each have dif­fer­ent val­ues that rep­re­sent what is im­por­tant to us, and what we ideally want to get out of our ca­reer.

It is im­por­tant to make sure these val­ues gen­uinely align with who you are to sup­port the for­ma­tion of your per­sonal brand as au­then­ti­cally as pos­si­ble.

HOW DO OTH­ERS CUR­RENTLY SEE YOU?

A re­ally great way to eval­u­ate our brand is to ask other peo­ple what they think of us.

I have clients do this both in­for­mally just through a con­ver­sa­tion, and more for­mally by giv­ing them an ac­tual form to com­plete. If your or­gan­i­sa­tion does 360 re­views, take a look at the feed­back and think about how it makes you feel.

While this can be a chal­leng­ing ex­er­cise it can be crit­i­cal in iden­ti­fy­ing is­sues with your brand so you can tar­get this mov­ing for­ward. A nice out­come of the ex­er­cise is that this can give you lots of pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment about your skills and make you re­alise ar­eas or strengths that you hadn’t pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied.

DE­VELOP YOUR PRO­FILE

Once you have worked out what you want your brand to look like – do a self check – how do you think you are do­ing? Are there ex­am­ples of achieve­ments at work, projects that you have worked on, im­prove­ments that you have sug­gested and em­bed­ded that demon­strated the key as­pects of your brand?

If there are you need to do two key things 1. Write them down – great for your CV and keeps track of what those achieve­ments are but also great at per­for­mance re­view time.

“Peo­ple will be mak­ing judge­ments and have per­cep­tions of who we are. If we don’t think about it, and own it, we run the risk of a brand be­ing cre­ated that doesn’t align with our ca­reer val­ues, tal­ents and as­pi­ra­tions.”

2. Tell peo­ple about them – you need to be able to clearly ar­tic­u­late what you can do – why are you use­ful and again what are the strengths that you could bring to any fu­ture lead­er­ship roles. If you are think­ing about your brand and re­alise that you have no ex­am­ples that demon­strate how you want to be seen then you need to get mov­ing. And there are so many things that you can do to achieve this – but be pre­pared – they all take time and en­ergy. • Get in­volved in ex­tra projects at work – go the ex­tra mile. But make sure those projects serve a pur­pose for you and achieve your brand goals. • Get a men­tor – in­for­mal and for­mal men­tor­ing is out there – iden­tify some­one that you think will sup­port you – that will help cham­pion your brand for you and work with them. Get feed­back and ideas re what you should be do­ing, your per­for­mance and how you can ex­tend your­self. • Do a course – make sure this is rel­e­vant to the skills that you want to grow and nur­ture in the fu­ture. • Join a pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tion.

Please know that this process is not go­ing to hap­pen overnight. It does take time. A deeper more mem­o­rable brand takes a num­ber of months to re­ally em­bed and if we want to change or el­e­vate this brand, this takes con­tin­ual ef­fort and en­ergy to de­velop and re­ally ce­ment with peo­ple. Plan for this to take months and then make sure you don’t stop.

KNOW AND DE­VELOP YOUR STORY

Af­ter think­ing about our own brand and what we want this to look like, we then need to put this to­gether into a short sharp ‘story’. Be able to ar­tic­u­late this both ver­bally and on plat­forms like LinkedIn. This means you need to write it down, prac­tice it and be aware of what you have put up on LinkedIn.

I of­ten have clients that for­get what is even in their pro­file and that is def­i­nitely not sell­ing a very good story at all.

LEARN TO AR­TIC­U­LATE YOUR STRENGTHS

Talk to your col­leagues about what you ac­tu­ally do and en­sure se­nior lead­ers and man­agers know what your achieve­ments have been.

If your or­gan­i­sa­tion has con­fer­ences or awards you can ap­ply for – do it. Prac­tice how these strengths sound when you say them out loud so you feel com­fort­able and con­fi­dent talk­ing about them. Write them all down so you can pin­point the ones that you want to de­velop fur­ther.

GROW AND NUR­TURE YOUR NET­WORKS

Get net­work­ing – go to in­dus­try events, talk to other de­part­ments at work, go to so­cial events and reach out to peo­ple on plat­forms like LinkedIn to build your net­work.

Giv­ing back to those net­works though is how re­la­tion­ships are em­bed­ded and be­come long-term. Make sure you are as open to pro­mot­ing some­one else’s brand as you are your own – this will help cre­ate a strong net­work will­ing to sup­port your brand and ul­ti­mately your ca­reer.

LINKEDIN

One of the ben­e­fits of know­ing and be­ing able to ar­tic­u­late your brand is that you can use this on so­cial me­dia plat­forms like LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is great – es­pe­cially in New Zealand as we have such a high pro­por­tion of the work­force us­ing this. It is such a nice easy way for us to ar­tic­u­late and pro­mote our own brands and en­gage with our net­works as well – so if you are look­ing for time-sav­ing brand pro­mo­tions tech­niques – this is for you.

There are some key sec­tions on LinkedIn that you can utilise to pro­mote your brand in­clud­ing your head­line, the sum­mary sec­tion and your em­ploy­ment his­tory.

You can also take a look at ad­di­tional sec­tions on LinkedIn in­clud­ing projects, awards and vol­un­teer sec­tions. To fur­ther en­dorse your brand, ask col­leagues to write a rec­om­men­da­tion for you on LinkedIn – you can even help them by sug­gest­ing the strengths and skills that you would like them to pro­mote for you.

“A great way to eval­u­ate our brand is to ask other peo­ple what they think of us. Clients do this both in­for­mally, just through a con­ver­sa­tion, and more for­mally by giv­ing them an ac­tual form to com­plete. ”

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