How to develop a personal brand

If you want to be perceived a certain way, make sure you’re consistent about how you act

Write out how you want others to see you, focus on your values and stick to a timeframe.

We all know how powerful a brand can be. Whether it’s a logo that can sell millions of products, or the perceived values that secure a legion of followers, the importance of having a strong brand is undeniable.
However, branding doesn’t just apply to businesses – we can all develop our own personal brand to set us apart in the workplace. We always have to portray ourselves in the best possible light – from job interviews and securing involvement on exciting projects, right through to bagging a promotion. We’re judged in a matter of seconds on our appearance, how we behave and how we interact with others. How you market yourself to others, therefore, could make or break your career.
But the challenge is how we go about developing our brand. A personal brand needs to at once encompass your personal values and the individual skills that set you apart. But it also needs to embody how you want to be seen by the outside world. To do this, there are several steps you can take.

Get something down

Write out how you want to be viewed by others, and think about how to match your behaviours to this statement. Making it short and punchy will ensure that it is both easy to refer to and gives you clear direction.

Identify your values and skills

What matters to you? Is it loyalty, ethics or diligence? It could be all three. By identifying what drives you, you can recognise what will make you feel satisfied and, therefore, more productive at work. And when it comes to your skill set, what do you offer in your current role, and what could you offer future employers? Having these at the forefront of your mind will help you when it comes to tweaking your behaviour.

Set a timeframe

Don’t be afraid to set timeframes. It will give you a sense of purpose and a target to work towards. Think about where you want to be six months from now, and to what extent how you present yourself is helping you get there. Working towards a deadline and blocking out some time to reflect on what you’ve achieved in the period will help.

Identify what you want to achieve in your career

This doesn’t mean creating a detailed long-term plan, but it is important to identify career goals to help develop your personal brand. Use your value set to think about the types of company you want to work for. You could even think about how it matches with your present company. Alignment between the two will improve your engagement with a firm and help you to work towards a shared goal. That, in turn, will help boost your personal brand within the workplace.

Be consistent

If you have identified a set of values and are focusing on implementing them, this process should become natural. Think about, for example, how you would feel if a recognised brand appeared to go against its promoted values and apply this mindset to the message that you’re giving out.

Implement it

Once you know how you want to be seen and how this will help you in your career, look to phase these changes into your working life. You can’t transform overnight, but look to regularly tick your already identified objectives off a list, so you are always moving in the right direction.
Nicki Creswell is wellbeing training coordinator at the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA).

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