5½ TIPS TO BRAND YOURSELF & STAND OUT
5½ TIPS TO BRAND YOURSELF & STAND OUT
Here they are, finally, the next 5 tips and some! No one can afford to sit back and be complacent about what it takes to stay on top of Career Management 2.0.
6. Brand your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is one of the largest “social networking” sites, where one of the primary purposes is professional networking. With over 40 million professionals utilizing it, polishing your brand on LinkedIn is essential in order to stand out. You can do so by keeping your text short but lively descriptions (like “Business Jump Starter” rather than “consultant,” for example), and conveying your passion & humor when describing your skills & experience. Another great tool is LinkedIn’s “Answers” feature, through which you can answer other users’ questions in ways that showcase your expertise, build your credibility and raise your “go-to” stock on the network. It’s all about what you put into it.
7. Brand your Facebook profile. With your friends and family, that is—a valuable group that we often tend to overlook. Do they know what you do? Are you engaged with helping them whenever available? Building a strong network is about supplying it with quality resources, information and content—your friends & family included! If you’ve written them off as “just” that, revamp your thinking and see them in a new light—a group of allies who know you and your great qualities more than anyone else—thus, the perfect ones to refer you to new contacts!
8. Brand your blog. When people visit your blog, do they get a real sense of who you are, what your passion is and how you can help them? Or do they just get generic words on the same old topics? Interestingly, one of the main ways to connect with your blog readers & subscribers is quite simple, doesn’t require a bunch of bells and whistles—and it’s as close as your digital camera. That’s right—simply adding personal pictures to your blog can foster a better connection with your audience. That, along with your useful content, goes a long way in establishing yourself as a trusted expert.
9. Brand your public speaking. This is one of the most effective ways to brand yourself, as your audience connection is face-to-face–something I can’t stress the importance of enough! People love information, but when it’s delivered by a “real” person, in person—it makes the message that much stronger and more memorable. If you’re just getting started, approach associations & organizations and volunteer to make presentations. It might not be a paying gig at first, but the contacts you can make are invaluable—the experience will hone your public speaking skills and possibly lead to paying engagements down the line. If you need to, consider taking a public speaking seminar, hiring a coach or joining Toastmasters to polish your skills and jump-start your brand.
10. Brand your clothing. Okay, be honest with yourself: What message does your wardrobe send out to people you come in contact with? If your overly-casual jeans, track pants, sneakers or t-shirts scream, “I’m a little too laid-back & don’t take my business or clients seriously”(which it probably does), then you need to revamp! I’m not saying you need to wear a suit every day, but even a little goes a long way in conveying a neat, organized image. Whether your personal style is conservative or a little funky, you can brand yourself and give it a professional edge without being “stiff.” Groomed hair & nails, tasteful makeup & jewelry, and properly fitted/tailored clothes can boost your self-confidence & let those around you see you in a great light! If you need ideas, consult an image consultant or stylist for tips.
To sum it all up, and this is probably the most important one on the list—yet, it’s the simplest! Branding yourself is all about what you believe in—your talent, your ability and your skills—and if you truly believe in something, it’s that much easier to get others on board with whatever your passion is. For jobseekers, that means convincing hiring managers that you’re the perfect person for that position. And for entrepreneurs, that means customers and clients believing in you enough to give you their business. Once you’ve established your personal brand, use that to define what it is that you stand for in your particular field—and who can benefit from that. Once you get your message out to your target audience through various media methods, people will see you as a go-to expert based on your experience and expertise.
Here’s to making your brand work for you!