You may see having a "personal brand" as a self-congratulating ego-fuelled idea used only by D-list celebrities and wannabes. However a strong brand can help you get ahead in today's competitive jobs market. Think of it as a process to build and enhance your reputation.
Here are some tips on how to develop a personal brand:
Dress code and hair
Your appearance, including what you wear and how you style your hair, is usually the first thing people notice about you. You should develop a personal dress code which enhances your personal brand. Dress like you have put thought into it not that you are just trying to follow the latest trend. Your dress code and your hair should be consistent and reliable - otherwise you may appear like you are having mid-life crises every month. A personal dress code does not have to be, and seldom should be, outlandish but rather an extension of your personality. Get the right colours for you and the right choice of work clothes - all business suits are not the same. There are lots of useful sites out there - why not try thread.com for some style ideas.
Tell your story
Qualifications, sales reports and IT competency are boring traits. Instead tell a story which develops your brand. Consider where you have been, where you are going, how you have got to where you are today and why your story makes you different. Your personal brand should be used to set you apart from everybody else. Your personal story will help you do this. Of course - don't tell your story every day to every one you see - otherwise your brand will be arrogant bore.
Set your values
Carefully consider what values and principles you believe in and that you try to live by. Everybody has a different set of values and everybody develops their own personal values in different ways. Some rate loyalty and trust amongst the most important, while others may see results and ambition as more desirable. Let your values come across in your CV and your career. And stick to them.
Your personal brand cannot be created overnight - it may take years to successfully develop. Of course, big events and unusual performances can boost (or kill) your brand - but normally it takes time to build. Do not be put off about the work you need to put into developing your brand. Instead see your personal brand as an investment in your future; jobs may come and go, but a successful personal brand and reputation will last.
Be human and likeable
Compassion and humanity and likeability can be rare beasts in the corporate world. Giving a colleague a reassuring word, sending a handwritten note, a congratulatory email or just not being a jerk with your team or your clients can set you apart from the rest. So whether it's good for your career or because you actually are a decent human being - be pleasant to the people around you.