Personal brand is the most important tool you have in your belt when it comes to career success. Not being in control of what other people (especially your boss or hiring manager) think of you is the number one reason many women see their career stalled even though they feel they are doing their best.
Personal brand is a deliberate and strategic effort to promote your skills. In other words, it’s the way you decide to package yourself for the world to see. The sad truth is that although it’s the most important aspect of career development, it’s also the most misunderstood.
These are the 5 common misconceptions about personal brand.
Personal brand and reputation are the same thing. I’d say this is the most common misconception people have. While reputation is one aspect of personal brand, there are 3 other factors that contribute to your brand as well. They are 1) your online presence, 2) your professional portfolio, and 3) your in person connections. While each has a distinct set of rules and best practices on its own, when put together correctly, they help create a total brand package that will keep you in demand in your career.
I don’t have a brand…and I don’t need one. I think this is the most dangerous misconception to have. First off, EVERYONE has a brand, whether you deliberately work at it or not. As I stated above, personal brand includes your reputation (among other things). We all know that your reputation affects the way others view and treat you. If people are going to use your brand to decide how to interact with you, then it really is in your best interest to have a say in how you are being perceived and not leave something this important to chance.
Only senior execs need to worry about personal brand. Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only should we all be aware of our brand perception, we also need to make sure we have an action plan in place that constantly assesses and revamps that brand as needed. Senior execs most likely got to where they are because of the personal brand they cultivated early on in their careers.
Only professional social media outlets count toward my personal brand. no. No. NO. ALL online media count toward your personal brand. 91% of recruiters use social media as another way to screen candidates during the application process. So it’s not only important to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and professional, but you should also clean up your Facebook, Instagram and countless other ones as well. When’s the last time you googled yourself? Are you happy with everything that shows up?
I can’t control my personal brand. By now you should notice a theme in all of the previous myths. Every aspect of personal brand can definitely be controlled; though some more than others. The key is to assess our current brand and then create a plan to revamp as necessary.
Mastering your personal brand is critical to career success. Don’t leave something this important to chance. Get in front of they way you are being perceived by others and make sure you are doing everything within your power to create and maintain a positive image.
Dorianne St Fleur, Career Strategist