How developing a personal brand can lead to career success

Do you have a personal brand, and if not, why not?

We are all familiar with brands in our everyday lives. Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Virgin, Santander -whether burgers, holidays, alcoholic drinks or hotels, brands are everywhere.

They surround us in advertising, on television, sponsoring sports events and all over the internet, with their whole purpose being to make us so familiar with their names and image that they are our first port of call when we need to buy something.

In these high technology days, it is increasingly important for anyone wishing to get ahead in business or in a career to produce and promote their own personal brand. Whether you are self-employed, running your own business and looking for clients or embarking on a career with ambitions to get to the top of a profession and seeking a good reputation that will get you headhunted, your brand is an important part of your journey.

In the same way as a business aims to build up a good reputation with clients and fellow businesses, everyone who needs or wants to promote their own talents needs to develop and promote their own personal brand.

How do you go about it?

Your own brand will depend largely on your profession, of course, and your individual aims; however, the general process of building and promoting a brand will remain the same whatever your overall ambitions.

The process starts with determining what your individual brand actually is. You should consider your talents; what services you can provide or expertise you can offer; what makes you stand out from the crowd; your overall aims; and what you can take to other firms or clients that will benefit them.

Next, it is important to start developing and promoting an online presence. It is not just businesses that need to do this – even individuals looking for new positions require some sort of online presence, as this is where anyone hearing your name will look for you to find out more.

Start by becoming familiar with social media sites. If you have not done so already, set up accounts on the main ones such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but remember not to mix your professional and personal selves. In other words, if you want to share personal photos with your family and friends on Facebook, create a separate account for your professional self.

LinkedIn is a great site for business and job-searching, but again remember to keep it professional.

If you are setting yourself up in business, such as consulting, you will also need a website. You can do this yourself or get it specially created; whatever you do, make sure it looks good, promotes what you do or sell, and is regularly updated.

Getting business cards made, writing informative articles for submission to local magazines and offering yourself to conduct talks about your industry will also help to get your name known and create a brand you can be proud of.

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