Millions of people participated in the post-lockdown Great Resignation, quitting their jobs, joining the gig economy, changing careers or taking long-overdue breaks from the world of work.
As you find your way forward, it’s time to join the Great Rebrand.
How you present yourself to potential employers, clients, co-workers and even new friends will determine how successful you are at achieving your goals.
The single, most-effective tool for making sure you present yourself in a way that will make your dreams come true is to create a powerful personal brand.
Your personal brand is a blueprint for how you behave, what you say and the way you react to others and to situations. It’s a guide for how you will make not only a first impression, but a lasting one.
It’s your secret weapon for showing up as your best self every day.
Successful personal branding involves three important steps: 1. Create. 2. Live. 3. Sell.
Some people believe they don’t need a personal brand; they simply are who they are. What those people don’t realize is that even if you have never decided what your personal brand is, you still have one.
When you make an impression on someone else, that person will decide for you what your personal brand is. In other words, someone else will assume what your brand is based on that interaction.
That’s great if you make an awesome impression. Without a personal brand to guide you, though, the impression you make might depend on your mood at that moment or on a snap decision to say or do something that doesn’t reflect your best self.
Creating a personal brand helps you stay on track, so you make the impression you want to every time. It reminds you to act and react in a way that will get you where you want to go and to do that consistently.
To create a powerful personal brand, decide what your goals are and how you have to present yourself in a way that will convince others to help you achieve them. Your brand will guide your choices for what to wear, how prompt you are, how you will respond to good or bad news, whether you are serious or lighthearted, and which of your qualities to showcase.
Your brand reflects your thoughtful decision about how you can present yourself as your personal best at all times.
Taking the time to create a thoughtful personal brand is a useful exercise only if you intend to live up to that brand every day.
There’s no sense devising the perfect brand to help you reach your goals if you ignore it.
So, write it down. Save it as a note on your phone. Write the highlights on a sticky note and fix it to your laptop. It is important that you make it real, rather than just a thought.
And then follow your own advice. If your brand is “professional, polished, prompt,” dress, speak and behave professionally—every day. Show up prepared and on time. Live your brand.
If your brand is “creative, fun, talented,” make it clear on social media and your website, if you have one, that you can back up your brand. During meetings, offer creative ideas. Be the one who smiles and appreciates everyone in the room or on the call. Volunteer to lend your talent and skill on projects that others will make visible. Live your brand.
Living your personal brand will help keep you on track even on days when you are not feeling 100% like yourself. It will help you create a consistent impression not only with people you meet but with those you know and work with.
Living your personal brand will help you sell yourself.
The third step for a powerful personal brand is selling it—or using it to sell yourself.
This is the step that too many people skip. Selling yourself is, as its name suggests, a sale. A personal brand, then, is a sales tool.
Without question, the best and easiest way to sell your brand—and yourself—is to live your personal brand day in and day out. That will show people that you are who you say you are, and they can trust that your brand is authentic.
To use your brand as a sales tool, spend some time planning how you will do that. Look for opportunities to use your brand to shine. Use it to show people that they can trust you to follow through. Ask others to help you let everyone know about your brand and to help you move forward. And then, show your gratitude to everyone who helped you by doing what you promised and by continuing to live up to the personal brand you have “sold” them.
Create. Live. Sell. These three steps will help you create a powerful personal brand, whether you have just graduated and want to make your first impression as a job candidate, or you are changing jobs or fields, or your goals have changed.
A personal brand will help you make the most important sale of your life: selling you.
About the Author:
Dr. Cindy McGovern is the founder of Orange Leaf Consulting, which helps organizations, entrepreneurs, and individuals create dynamic and robust sales processes. Before launching her business, McGovern was a college professor of communication as well as a successful sales professional. She has worked with hundreds of organizations of all sizes and specialties across the globe and is now one of the most sought-after business and sales authorities.
Dr. Cindy McGovern is the author the new book Sell Yourself: How to Create, Live, and Sell a Powerful Personal Brand which is available as of today.