Last week we looked at why your personal brand is crucial to standing out in a job search. But what if you aren’t looking for a new job? What if you’re already in the job or industry that you want for the long term?
Before giving my take on that question, I want to share one lesson that I hope every reader will take from this blog – don’t wait until you need to rely on your reputation, to start building that reputation. Building a credible personal brand takes effort and time; it’s not something that can be thrown together in a pinch. If a job search arrives unexpectedly, wouldn’t you rather have your desired reputation already underway and established?
Even if a job search isn’t in your near future, there are plenty of reasons to launch headfirst into building your personal brand. By clearly defining who you are, how you want to be known and how you plan to live up to that brand promise every day, you put yourself in the driver seat for your career. You attract opportunity because your decisions and actions are intentional. If you’re already in the job you want, here are 5 reasons that a clearly defined brand will help you thrive in your career:
Gaining Recognition – Part of what you’re building with a personal brand is credibility. Credibility is built when you actively communicate what you stand for, and then act accordingly. If you say you’re open and approachable but no one can ever get in touch with you, you lose credibility. Likewise, if your door remains open but you don’t communicate that value of openness, you may not get credit or recognition for being open.
Staying Ahead of the Competition – Seth Godin’s Linchpin talks about the value of being indispensable. What is it that makes you unique and valuable in your position? It’s your personal brand. Skills and knowledge can be replaced, but how you do your work – how you build relationships, how you solve problems creatively, how you bring teams together to collaborate – these cannot be outsourced or easily replaced. They secure your value to your clients and employer because you bring something to the table that no one else does.
Constant Growth – The process of personal branding requires that you periodically measure the distance between your current brand and your desired reputation. It’s a process that helps you see your strengths and weaknesses with clear vision and helpful insight. Using feedback and other tools, you’ll strengthen those assets that make you unique, and address the weaknesses that may hold you back.
Strength in Connection – Creating an intentional brand is not something you do in a vacuum. It requires that you create an intentional network of people, with whom you share knowledge, support, ideas, and even leads. When you put thought and effort into building a network that gives and takes and connects, your brand becomes stronger and more valuable. (and more meaningful!)
Career Advancement – Putting intention and strategy behind your actions will break you out of the day-to-day rut and help align your efforts with your goals. It gives you purpose and keeps you motivated. These are the pieces that work together to advance your career and help you create the life and the legacy that you want. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s never too soon to take control of your reputation and make sure you’re heading down the path that you want most.