Now you have your personal brand definition, you need to use it to help you build a positive image in the minds of your target audience / sector. There is no point in leaving it hidden away – make sure you have it where you can easily refer to it, at least in the beginning. You now need to put your personal brand strategy into action and make sure that you create a winning profile, that will get you on the radar of the people you need to impress. In corporate brand speak this is where you embark on your branding – ie. how your brand acts, looks and speaks. You will use your new WhyMe? in exactly the same way – what you say, what you do and how you look. All designed to help you achieve your goals quickly and seamlessly.
Your Brand Definition will act as your guide for everything you do publicly. It will help you take a thoughtful approach to your activity, communicating:
- What makes you special
providing content for:
- Your social media
- Your branding
- Your CV / Covering Letter
Communicating what makes you special
Now you have defined your personal brand and are thinking about ways of bringing it to life and using it for your advantage it is a good idea to create a list of statements (six to ten) that you can (and want) to say about yourself to promote who you are positively.
These statements should focus on your particular talents, skills or achievements, that together will showcase what makes you unique. Think about them in terms of what are the various important facets of your personality and skill set which you think help you to stand out. You won’t necessarily put these statements out in your social media postings verbatim but they should help provide you with a set of areas where you should be demonstrating knowledge, expertise or interest in your posts. Think about them as helping to direct the content of your social media activity.
All successful brands in the marketplace will have developed a set of statements which they use to promote their brand. The reason they do this is to ensure that they are always promoting the same perception of their brand – consistent messaging is more likely to resonate with their target audience and it helps maximise their effort as a clearer, more motivating brand image is built more quickly.
The approach is exactly the same for personal brands. If you want to attract the right attention with your target audience you need to promote yourself in the right way, which means communicating your strengths in a positive way that will impress them. You are more likely to succeed if you are consistent – a scattergun approach with numerous conflicting messages will both confuse and get you lost in the myriad of other people communicating their hearts out.
Having a set of statements which focus on your strengths will provide you with the approach and content for your posts and points of view.
Your social media
Social media is only likely to become more important and is one of the main reasons as to why you should develop a personal brand. You need to be sure that whatever you are posting online is helping you to achieve your ultimate goal – pursuing your dreams.
- The first step is to review all your social media sites against your personal brand definition. With the vast array of choice available it is important that you focus on the sites that will be of the most benefit – worse than having no social media presence is one that is static and never changes. Which sites are the most important in the light of your Vision, specific target audience or sector? Focus on those.
- Next view your activity – your overviews / posts / comments / connections / network including people and brands or organisations that you follow. Think honestly about how good and effective they are in helping you achieve what you want. Compare them with your definition in WhyMe? – do they fit together, does it look like the same person, the person you want to be? Would you recognise the qualities you have defined (Values / Personality) from your activity? Would your proposed target audience be impressed? Are your key messages reflected in your social media? Without meeting you does your social media activity make it clear what sort of a person you are and what is important to you?
- Draw up an action plan of what you need to improve your social media profile, which might include:
- rewriting your introductions or overviews
- creating a list of organisations or people that would be useful to follow
- increasing the number of connections you have
- creating a set of interesting features (words / pictures) that you can post
- setting up a blog – it’s pretty easy to do this yourself these days (wordpress: https://wordpress.org/ is a good option) – and then use sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to draw attention to it.
A successful social media approach relies largely on two things – interesting content and regular activity. Whilst activity alone will push your profile to the top of the pile, to impress you want to be noticed for more than simply lots of activity. You want a presence that is interesting, thoughtful and relevant. So, using your key messages as a starting point, create content that will stop you appearing bland or uninteresting – have a point of view, ask some questions, get a conversation going, comment on other people’s postings – it’s all about finding your voice. Fulfilling your goals won’t come easily if you are a shrinking violet – the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
No, you don’t need to create a visual identity (logo) – unless you are a freelancer or start-up business in which case it is a good idea. If that is the case, then your personal brand definition should act as the brief for that work.
For people, branding can be seen as how you present yourself – the clothes you wear, your choice of bag / briefcase, your shoes, how you cut your hair etc.
Inevitably your chosen job sector will have a part to play in how you appear – if you are aiming for a more conservative area work then a more conservative approach to your appearance will be required, whereas if you are targeting the more creative areas such as the Arts, a more casual and creative approach might be more appropriate. Some sectors will have strict dress codes in which case it is best just to follow them
However, there is usually is a place for some individuality– the trick is to be part of the team without being overwhelmed by it. You just have to make sure that you hit the right level. Look at your personality characteristics in your brand definition – they will help you with props. For example, if you want to appear serious and studious – books / a kindle / newspapers / trade magazines are good props to carry. If you have described yourself as sociable don’t ignore the receptionist when you are waiting for your interview – strike up a conversation, be engaging. If you do get called for an interview, then remember you are playing a part – everything you do must be working towards getting you that role from the second you step into that building.
Your CV / Covering Letter
Although CVs / Covering Letters are increasingly becoming the ‘icing on the cake’ (given all the other ways that candidates can make an impression nowadays) you still need them, so the first thing to do is to make sure that your CV – and in particular your Covering Letter – reflects your own WhyMe?. Addressing your CV / Covering Letter is probably the easiest place to start. So, review these against your finalised WhyMe?:
- Are they communicating your unique offer (Values / Personality / Supporting Factors)?
- Are they focused on reaching your Vision? (Will it help you realise your goals and dreams?)
- Have you included all the right supporting factors to underpin your talents and skills?
- If you read your CV / Covering Letter cold and created a summary would it reflect the brand summary you wrote as part of WhyMe? ?
Refine your CV / Covering Letter in line with your WhyMe?, that way you know that you are building the picture you want.
Now it’s over to you!
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