Anyone who has spent more than a moment in the executive business realm has likely encountered the term, “personal branding”. Years ago, personal branding may have included little more than a well-designed business card. However, in today’s media-rich and increasingly personalized society, developing an effective personal brand is possibly one of the most essential ways of assuring that you are noticeable within your realm of influence.
In short, personal branding is the channel by which others remember you.
Whether you are a job seeker or an active professional, this means taking note of everything from the quality of your resume to the relevance of your credentials and expertise; including your online presence and even your own personal style.
According to award-winning author, journalist, and co-writer of the “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Branding Yourself”, Sherry Beck Paprocki, “branding is something that we need to embrace wholeheartedly”. Professionals who don’t take control of their image or personal brand may find that it is basically done for them. As Paprocki explains, “If you don’t brand yourself, Google will brand you”. Professionals who make a point of maximizing influential social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, gain a greater sense of leverage among their competitors. In addition to simply an addendum to your resume, LinkedIn offers talented professionals the ability to not only showcase their knowledge, but earn respected status as an expert in their field.
While remaining cognizant of your online persona is elemental, professionals and job seekers of all echelons must not lose sight of their in-person image. The importance of good manners and proper etiquette is a competency that should never be taken for granted. Soft skills such as constructive communication and positive body language are among the latest markers in personal branding.
The same can also be said for personal appearance. The old adage of “dressing the part” remains true to this day; and key marketers at the NY-based grooming-product manufacturer, Harry’s™, shed some light on the subject. As supporters of organizations aligned with similar ambition, Harry’s™ professional team notes how an individual’s choice of garment depends largely on one’s line of work: “First, analyze what leaders in your industry are wearing”.
For example, those in marketing or graphic design may opt for a slightly casual or original style, while someone navigating more conservative sectors such as finance or law, should choose stricter business dress codes where suits and subdued color shades are the norm.
Harry’s™ team conveys how professionals should also place extra emphasis on their grooming routine which includes everything from hair and skin care, facial hair (for men), and overall hygiene and cleanliness. Although it may seem obvious, or even trivial to some, your physical appearance can quickly relay a wide range of personality characteristics from credibility and approachability to health, vitality, and fortitude which are critical traits for any qualified role. On a side note, job hopefuls and aspiring execs should reconsider donning excessive or non-traditional jewelry and visible tattoos, as these embellishments can negatively affect your chances of landing a job.
Job seekers and established professionals must remember to maintain a balance between the virtual and the tangible. While the personal branding process may have become synonymous with an online image and persona, losing sight of your potential impact on an in-person basis can certainly have damaging results.
Luckily, it only takes a few simple tasks and some attention to detail to portray yourself as the dedicated and credible individual you really are.
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