Your personal brand consists of many things: knowledge, experiences, personality, friends, family, accomplishments, failures, values, relationships, faith and much more. Why is it important to have a personal brand in the workplace? We all have a personal brand. Our personal brands are defined by our education, our past personal and professional experiences, our core values and beliefs, our network of friends and business colleagues, and much more. Your personal brand is also how others perceive you, the actions you take and your approach to working through situations in the workplace.
How does one go about creating his or her personal brand? I frequently coach individuals on defining their personal brand. I also lead workshops that enable participants to learn about personal branding and actually "draw" elements of their personal brand on paper. We start by defining individual values, core strengths, weaknesses or developmental areas, hobbies, passions / interests, personality type or leadership styles and we document this in a way that presents the individual in a much more in-depth way than a simple resume. I call the program "JumpStart". The time spent defining and outlining your personal brand, documenting it in an impactful presentation format is much more powerful than a standard resume.
What are the main elements of a personal brand and why are they needed? In my book "Make It Happen! Live Out Your Personal Brand", I define a personal brand as consisting of the following areas: Self (your core), Work (your career and workplace activities), Family (commitment to family and friends), Faith (relationship with God), and Community (time spent volunteering and/or giving back). At times, dynamic tension may exist between focus areas of your personal brand. This tension forces the prioritization of your personal and professional activities while strengthening the framework of your personal brand. The value of your personal brand increases or decreases over time based on actions taken within each area.
What tools can help you build your personal brand? 5. What can harm your personal brand? Think of your personal brand as a bank account. The value of that account increases when you invest in relationships with your family, when you complete a new training program, receive a new degree, or even when you lead a volunteer program for a community organization. It increases when you develop a stronger relationship with God. It increases when you spend time learning from your parents, siblings and extended family. It increases when you commit time and / or money to philanthropic programs. And most importantly, it increases when you gain a better understanding of your personal values, ethics, morals and beliefs - your authentic self - and live them out in your everyday personal and professional interactions.
Alternatively, you deplete the bank account as you make decisions that take away from the five focus areas. When you demonstrate negative actions towards colleagues. When you treat a member of your team unprofessionally. When you intentionally hurt a loved one. When you gossip about friends and engage in hypocritical behavior. When you cheat on a spouse. When you lie on expense reports. You get the idea. You are depleting the bank account and crippling your personal brand when you engage in these types of behaviors.
Why is it important to have a personal brand when looking for a new job? Understanding your personal brand will differentiate you from others that have not taken the time to define their personal brand. By understanding your personal brand, you can clearly communicate more about "you"- the candidate - to the prospective employer and that is important as most employers have a hard time making a hiring decision based on an interview and resume.
Anything else you'd like to add? When I am faced with major decisions in life, I review my personal brand framework to identify where and how the new opportunity or challenge fits in. My core values are foundational and support many major focus areas that currently include the consumer goods industry, my desire to be a subject-matter-expert (SME) in the area of business intelligence and marketing, my passion for faith and its role in all aspects of my life, my focus on giving back through work in the community, and my passion for mentoring and coaching others.
At the end of the day, I look for opportunities that enable me to positively impact organizations and individuals with whom I interact, while striving to help others achieve happiness, professional growth and personal success. Simple? No. But this is the way that I think about my life and major decisions. How do you structure your thoughts and ideas around career? Personal life? Decisions? It helps me to write things down so I created diagram to remind me of my priorities and to be a tool for use in communicating my business priorities to others in the workplace.