If you don’t know the answer to this question, it may be time for you to figure out the true differentiators that make you #1 in the job market. Creating a professional brand image for your career growth is not something that happens overnight. It is something that you build over time.
How can you create a personal brand and a professional brand image that is unique, if you are not sure what it is about YOU that makes you special and worth “buying?”
- If you haven’t done so already, consider taking a DISC assessment or the Myers Briggs test. This is the first step toward determining your core strengths. Create a complete list of your valuable attributes. Are you tenacious, loyal, analytical, and efficient? Maybe you are good at planning or strategizing. Those assessments will guide you to determine the traits and skills that enable you to add value in a professional environment.
- Once you are clear on what your drivers are, you can generate a comprehensive value proposition based on your differentiating factors. Your value proposition should include a detailed and eloquent description of the personality traits that drive your success.
- If you were a product at a high-end department store, how would you describe yourself to customers? Would it be a quick, no-nonsense bulleted format that would sell your professional brand? Or, would you engage at a deeper level? Once you have established your unique selling proposition (USP), you will develop a plan to leverage these value-added brand attributes to advance your professional presence.
- Another tool you can add to your arsenal as part of developing your personal brand is the Professional Bio. A Professional Bio, also known as an Executive Biography, is different from a résumé in that it provides a 30,000-foot view of your key traits and accomplishments. Leveraging key words and results-focused examples, a Professional Bio will paint a well-rounded effective picture of your professional brand.
- Once you have developed key descriptors and differentiators that complete your “must have” package, it is time to get the word out. After all, having a personal brand will not help your career if nobody knows about it.
Decide on and commit to your professional branding activity. The use of Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, networking, and volunteerism, can all be avenues for promotion. If much of this seems daunting, you may want to consider consulting a professional career expert who can help you generate a game planfor promoting yourself.
Professional branding is a highly effective strategy that requires a long-term vision and action plan. Many senior level executives have been very successful at using this method to advance their careers. The cream rises to the top. Your intentional efforts to create a recognizable personal brand will enable you to do the same.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.