You might think that this is useless, this personal branding thing. However, if you instead of feeling scared about the wealth of information the internet has on you, start using it to your advantage, be you a student, a job seeker, a entrepreneur or a business mogul, you will earn your weight in virtual gold on it.
To make sure the world sees you the way you want it to, I have put together the ultimate personal branding guide for anyone wanting to improve their image, both online and offline.
1: Find inspiration
I am not thinking about your mother, I am sure she is great, but I am thinking about the people who when they die, there is literally nobody to fill their role; they are their own brands; they are unique. Go find some of them!
My personal favourites are Gary Vaynerchuk, Ivanka Trump and Ben Galley, you might be asking yourself who these people are, but I will give you a short introduction anyway:
Ivanka Trump is the daughter of Donald Trump, she is also a entrepreneur and started her own initiative to support women in their careers, #WomenWhoWork. Her whole website is full of useful blogs, and she has a massively strong personal brand, it’s so strong that coupled together with her fathers’, her half-sister Tiffany Trump just got into the media picture recently, but nobody really noticed her until now.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a huge man within social media marketing, but he also does a bunch of other things. What I really like about him is his energy, he has a YouTube-channel filled to the brim with marketing tips, in YouTube-scales he has a tiny group of subscribers (88k) – but he has his very own way of engaging his fans, he simply can’t be copied.
Ben Galley is perhaps the more “unknown” of these, he is a self-published author, and as I am a huge fan of Fantasy novels, I love his writing. However, the reason he is on this list, is because he is great at social media marketing and self branding, check out his Facebook page or his Twitter-account to see what I am talking about.
2: Figure out who you are and who you want to become
You could use our Personal Development Plan(.Docx-download) and our Career Vision exercise (.Docx-download) for this. Then angle all your personal accounts everywhere towards the “who you want to become”. I am not saying that you should start becoming an attention seeking crazy, but start talking to people you admire, drop the Twitter bio from 2011 and write one more to-the-point, and make sure your Facebook profile privacy settings only let your friends and family see those party pictures, not the whole world.
What do you want people saying about you if they introduce you to a stranger at a conference, party, or dinner? Should it be “This is Mia, she has two dogs and loves to go out for a run every Sunday morning” or would you rather it be “This is Mia, she is a up-and-coming entrepreneur, if you want one-of-a-kind-jewellery, she’s your woman.”?
I just came home from studying in the UK last summer, the first thing I did was to start networking within my field of work. In the last year I have been to one massive conference and two smaller ones. I am a bit shy, so I tend to sit by myself (but not on my phone!) and let people approach me. For more outgoing people I recommend talking to three to ten people at any such event, introducing yourself and asking them what they do, who they are, and why they are there. Always be in networking mode, you never know whom you might meet at a friends’ birthday party!
4: Put yourself out there
If your career is important to you, start writing for a online blog or magazine within your area of expertise, offer yourself up as a presenter on a subject at the next small conference or networking event, offer your opinion (in a polite manner) on online places like Facebook groups, Twitter or LinkedIn, have discussions! Run a blog, start a online magazine with friends, start a YouTube-channel, build a useful website…The options are endless.
If you are still a student, you could e-mail some local people in the business you want to get into and ask if they might have time for coffee one day to talk with you about what they do and how they got into the business. Another option is to get a friend to introduce you to their family member who does that thing you want to do.
5: Make sure your wardrobe and profile pictures match your world
If you are going into finance, boho might not be the right style for you. If you always wanted to do music for a living, consider the live venues you want to play at and how their regulars usually dress. Never lose your individual style, but make sure it reflects your kind of career as well!
6: Make a list of your whole network
Include family, friends, colleagues, and people you only know the name of. Add in their careers and their education. Figure out what other people you should know that could help you move forward in your career, and find those people, so they can fill the gaps! (we have a useful tool for that, you can download it as a .DocX here)
7: Update your CV
Add a summary of your career goals to your job application, make sure to add how the position you are applying for will help you towards that goal, and how your expertise can help the company you want to work for.
Consider if they have a place in your life. I found out a couple of years back that my absolute worst enemy was “friends” telling me I could not do what I wanted to do. They take your energy and you rarely get anything in return.
9: Help other people
Both online and offline, if you can help them out, do it. Those people are more likely to help you out later if you did something for them, and it works!
Create a decent elevator pitch, go to smaller networking events (like a casual party with some people that you don’t already know, engage someone nice in a discussion on Twitter, practice makes perfect, I promise.
Best of luck! Feel free to add things to this list in the comments below. J
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