Professional branding. To some, the concept sounds intimidating and unobtainable. To others,it’s a completely foreign subject. And to the rest, it could be the foundation for not only gaining a career, but also streamlining the process.
But, what is professional branding? And why is it so important these days? Well, to start, professional branding is the process of creating a flowing image for yourself through a myriad of tactics, whether it be by blogging, utilizing social media, designing a theme or layout that is repeated on all your online and offline materials, the way you network, your messaging, etc.
At its core, to obtain a solid professional brand, people have to produce a certain image that is unique to them in some way. Plus, with the wide range of candidates out there, it’s more important than ever to have that extra oomph.
For example, say you were a job seeker looking for a career in advertising. Creating a professional brand may begin with creating copy or a biography that is distinctive to your skills. Then, you may stem from this copy and create platforms or a website that is directly connected to the type of image you wish to portray. You may then want to extend this to your business cards, your resume, cover letters, or a portfolio.
In theory, an employer will be able to connect the dots and learn more about who you are as an employee, personally and professionally. Your personal brand can essentially paint the picture your resume alone can’t really do.
Additionally, creating a professional brand isn’t just about creating a fancy layout or coming up with a witty bio section. It’s about following through with your preliminary plans and sticking to it. If that means blogging three times a week during your job search, do it. If you had plans of participating in weekly Twitter chats, don’t slack off.
With this comes the huge problem out there in personal branding: the lax tendency people have at maintaining it once it’s up and rolling. That one Facebook post about the controversial political matter may seem okay, but what happens if a potential employer doesn’t agree, or is even offended? Or what happens if you send out a tweet saying you hate your boss or co-workers? It doesn’t exactly bode well for you if you’re conducting a job search.
So, what’s the solution? Quite simply, don’t give up on it. Your personal brand can do wonders for you once it’s created and on track. You just have to make sure to manage it, cater to it, and adjust as needed. In our congested job market, it could be the key to your next opportunity.
How do you create your professional brand? What makes you stand out in the job hunt?