To advance your career, self-promotion — publicizing your skills and aptitudes to further your professional growth — is crucial. This is especially true in today’s competitive work environment. Those who understand how to establish and promote their personal brand can gain an edge over their peers.
The first step toward establishing a personal brand involves deciding how you want to be perceived. Are you a marketing professional who wants to be seen as the go-to authority in your field, or are you an IT engineer with a knack for developing creative, forward-thinking software solutions for your clients?
To create your personal brand, focus on what makes you unique, what you excel at, and what you want to be known for. Below are a few steps you can take to craft an authentic brand.
What Is Self-Branding?
Everyone has a personal brand, even if they’re not aware of it. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” What is it that you’re known for? If you type your name into a search engine, what information do you find? Do you get results that include personal photos and links to your social media pages, or do you find articles about your professional awards and accolades, along with a link to your professional profile? Self-branding involves making an intentional, conscious effort to shape and influence how others perceive you. It also involves creating a strategy to market yourself, your career, and your goals as a key component of your brand.
How to Create (or Improve) Your Personal Brand
Creating a personal brand that aims to help you advance, both personally and professionally, is key in modern business. A 2018 survey by CareerBuilder found that 43% of employers monitored their employees’ social media profiles, and 70% of employers said they used social media to screen job applicants. Knowing this, make sure that your social media pages reflect the brand you want to promote.
The top personal brand tips involve establishing yourself as an “influencer” in your field. To accomplish this, you’ll need to craft a messaging strategy.
Ask Yourself What Defines You
What are you passionate about? What do you want to be known for? What do you aspire to be? As the adage says, you can’t map out a destination if you don’t know where you’re going.
Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Your brand needs to be true to yourself and relevant to others. Knowing (and marketing) your unique strengths assures your audience that you’re good at what you do. Identifying your weaknesses is equally important. Acknowledging your imperfection can make your brand feel more authentic.
Optimize Your Professional Profile and Personal Mission Statement
When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn page? What message do you want to send? Make sure your professional profile includes information about awards, accomplishments, and professional recognition.
Benefits of Self-Branding and Self-Promotion
Great personal branding not only helps you develop confidence; it can also help you network and land career advancement opportunities. Other benefits of self-branding and self-promotion include reduced feelings of imposter syndrome and an improved likelihood of earning more and attaining your career goals.
Self-Branding Can Help You Overcome Imposter Syndrome
A key component of cultivating a personal brand involves identifying and publicizing your strengths. Taking ownership of your skills — and being confident that you’re the go-to person in the areas in which you excel — can lessen feelings of imposter syndrome.
Individuals Who Self-Promote Attract More Career Opportunities
In addition to helping you build your network, promoting your personal brand can also spur career advancement opportunities. Remember: Great opportunities come to those who seize them. As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The only strategy guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
Personal Branding Can Help You Attain Your Career Goals
Establishing a personal brand can help you net both short- and long-term dividends. It helps differentiate you from your peers and relays a clear, concise message about who you are. Maintaining messaging consistency can keep you well positioned for future opportunities.
How to Self-Promote Without Having It Backfire
Self-advocacy can be powerful; however, there is a fine line between selling yourself and bragging. Below are some personal brand tips to ensure that self-promotion doesn’t backfire.
Understand Your Audience
When speaking with others, be aware of subtle body language cues. Do they appear engaged, or do they seem uninterested? Speak up, but never monopolize the conversation.
Sell, Don’t Tell
Don’t tell people how great you are; show them with your actions and through your accomplishments. Actions always speak louder than words.
Be Generous with Your Peers
Help others when they need it and speak generously of those who’ve helped you along the way. Promoting and valuing others often means they’ll return the favor.
Be a Good Listener
Good listeners are more likable, and they build stronger relationships. In some circumstances, you can make a stronger impression by saying less.
Build Your Brand
Creating, promoting, and managing a personal brand can help you in the professional realm and in your personal life. For instance, having a strong brand can help you land a new job or gain better name recognition in your field. It can also help you with personal accomplishments such as running for PTA president or leading your children’s troop.