How to develop a good personal brand


Do not judge a book by its cover, is a saying we often hear.
Unfortunately it is a wise advice that usually falls on deaf ears. In the real world we must not only be competent, we must also appear competent. Personal branding is vital to career advancement and an important part of it is external image. Whether you are a jobseeker or a professional, this is essential to help distinguish you from the others.
Having a good personal brand would mean having a positive and unique image which makes you stand-out from the others. It helps define who you are, and what you intend to be.
By personal branding, we refer to “reputation”. It is the reflection of your external, as well as internal appearance. It is the total valuation of what you say or do.
Here are ways to have a good personal brand:
Document your expertise. Accumulate certifications that will help substantiate your expertise. These may be useful, when you are asked to present them later for verification.
Develop a good personality. Aside from mastering the proper manners, you also have to take care of your grooming. Know how to dress properly. Look and act smart. It may cost a lot, but it pays to have a good wardrobe, as this adds to your value. Also invest in having a good profile picture. You must look your best in your online photos, as well as in the photos you attach in your bio data. You will be judged by how you project yourself.
Invest in yourself. Study to further your skills and knowledge. You may attend short courses or seminars to learn how to become a good leader, develop your communication or presentation skills, learn how to use the computer, etc.
Promote yourself. For jobseekers, you may write a very good resume. Also, as most head-hunters resort to “googling” candidates to establish credibility of the applicant, it is necessary as well to have a good online reputation. Post all your credentials in your LinkedIn or Facebook profile. For professionals, try to find ways to let the boss know about your awards and achievements. It also helps to volunteer to become the head of the team, to show your leadership capacity.
Self-publishing. You may consider writing a book to showcase your talent. This will prove that you are indeed an expert. Another option, which is less costly, is to start a blog on the subject matter where you are most proficient.
Have a nicely printed calling card. Aside from your name and contact details, make sure you emphasize your brand by including taglines like “internet marketing expert,” “proficient graphic artist,” “communications specialist,” “proficient blogger,” “sales and marketing professional,” and the like.
Develop good relationships. What people say about you will make a difference. If you know how to relate with people, there is high chance that your contacts will guarantee your expertise and accomplishments. This is also important when some people say negative things about you. Your network may say something to disprove these.
Volunteer your expertise. You may volunteer to deliver speeches or presentations in related conferences or events. You may add this to your profile later. This communicates that you are knowledgeable or proficient in the topic, thus making them brand you as expert. Ask others, to quote your ideas, thoughts or opinions.
Be constantly improving. If you are currently an expert in a certain field, do not rest on your laurels, never stop learning. Keep up to date with the latest developments so that your knowledge will remain in the cutting edge. This is especially true in industries where there are rapid technological advances.
Your personal brand matters a lot in your success or downfall. The long term key here is to be credible. Be honest with your claims. If you branded yourself as expert or skilful make sure that this is in fact the truth. If not, people may brand you later as a liar.
Unfortunately, it is easier to build an image than to recover from a damaged reputation.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.
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