When you hear the word “brand”, you instantly think about business. It’s no secret that companies would invest huge amounts of money, time and effort in building their brand only because they know that it is their ticket to success. They do intense research studies, come up with the most strategic game plans and team up with the most skilled professionals to make sure they get noticed and patronised.
For someone like you however who’s not an entrepreneur, you’d probably think that you don’t need to worry about the word “brand”. Truth is you should, especially if you want to build a good career. As Tom Peters puts it, “all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You”.
So, whether you’re applying for a job or are already in one, here are some tips to help you cultivate your personal brand:
- Invest in good education.
You can never put too much emphasis on how important it is to get good education, especially in a world that’s become fiercely competitive over the years. But while getting a degree is a no-brainer when you talk about education, you should also find ways to elevate your knowledge and give you that edge over your competition. If you’re into fashion, for instance, you should know that a diploma in fashion design can open the door to a university degree, which will help you a lot as you take your formal course. Having a good background programme wouldn’t only give you a better chance at getting accepted at a good university but also give you a good foundation for excelling at your chosen field. And remember, those shining credentials will really help you get that job you want.
- Be true to who you are.
It is true when they say that you can’t love what you don’t know. No matter how persistent you are, if you’re not passionate about the career you’ve chosen, you will not be as good as you want to be even if you try hard. To be able to convince people that you are good, you need to believe it yourself first. If you have an eye for fashion, take that route. If you’re tech-savvy, find a career that’s related to it. Don’t try to be someone else and the road will surely be a lot easier for you. In a time where a lot of people opt to follow the trend, you can be different by being genuine.
- Embrace the right state of mind.
Sure, you’re not an entrepreneur but it doesn’t mean that you can’t think like one. Getting into the right state of mind is a very important step to building a good career because once you know what you want, it will be easier for you to be more creative and innovative. When you’re comfortable with your goals, you will also be comfortable with presenting your ideas and showing what you can do, and this will set you apart from other employees.
- Never think that you’re too good.
Learning should be a lifelong journey because the truth is, no one knows everything that he needs to know to excel. Even if you excelled in school and got good feedback from previous employers (if you had any), you still have a lot to learn and you need to pursue continuous education. It doesn’t have to be another degree. You don’t even have to spend another year or two in school to learn more. For one, you can enrol in short courses, trainings or workshops that are related to your field. You can also go online and watch videos or read articles so you are updated with the latest in your industry. Of course, you can always learn from your mentors, people who’ve been where you are now.
- Practice consistency.
In an era where almost every information is easily accessible, you have to be careful with what you put out there because even the tiniest glitch can put your reputation on the line. While it’s very important to build networks online, you need to be on the right places or your credibility could suffer. Make sure that all the information that you put in your social networking accounts are the same and avoid putting anything out there that’s either spur-of-the-moment or one that you think would affect how people perceive you. Join relevant networks, say LinkedIn and Google Hangouts, and build a circle of people who share your passion and work ethic.
Also, embrace the same consistency with your body of work. The thing is, maintaining excellence is actually a lot harder than being excellent. Employers look for people who can deliver every single day and not just during the first few months of work. They want employees who can commit to them and will work hard to provide them excellent results. This is why standards have grown higher these days. When you practice consistency at work, any employer would see you as an asset to the company and will do anything to keep you. Of course, other companies would go after you knowing that you have the kind of work ethic that they need.
Building a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes months or even years to master and a lot of successful people can attest to that. The important thing is, you just need to know where to begin and these tips will surely be helpful. At the end of the day, don’t settle for less because you definitely have more to offer, even if you think you don’t. Cultivating your personal brand may not be the easiest task but you’ll know that all your efforts will surely be worth it when you start enjoying a long and successful career.