What is your personal brand? Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos once said, "Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room." Of course, you'll never be able to control what people say about you behind your back, but there are steps you can take, mostly online, that can enhance their perception of your professional skills.
Unlike a large enterprise, most of us lack a marketing budget to persuade colleagues, clients, and customers to see us as we want to be seen. Networking coach David Fisher, writing on the topic of personal branding for the Business 2 Community blog, opines that most of us are "on the quiet side" when it comes to trumpeting our successes and talents, a too-humble trait that makes personal branding a bit of a challenge. The good news: You can share your career victories without sounding obnoxious. We've put together 10 brand-building tips that won't make you look insufferably boastful to others. Even better, they won't cost a lot of money -- although some will take a lot of time -- to implement.
Where to start? Well, scrutinize your LinkedIn profile: Clarify your goals, add achievements, and fill in any gaps in your employment timeline. You might also want to follow LinkedIn's 12-week plan for improving your personal brand, such as creating goals for the number of profile views and connection requests you receive on the business-oriented social network.
You may be wondering: Why should I bother with any of this? Because it's a great way to advance your career and develop leadership skills. In a 2013 blog post, Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis wrote that managing your personal brand isn't the same as self-promotion. Rather, it's about showing others that you're an admirable role model and mentor, as well as a trusted voice in your profession. "View your personal brand as a trademark, an asset that you must protect while continuously molding and shaping it," he wrote.
You'll need to establish goals for your brand-building mission. LinkedIn recommends setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based objectives. This involves jotting down detailed and realistic goals, following through with your plans, and measuring the results of your efforts. For instance, rather than setting a vague objective such as, "I will be recognized as a leader in my field," it's smarter to create a specific goal such as, "I will speak at three or more industry conferences in the next 12 months."
What does your personal brand say about you?Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek. View Full Bio