Every product needs differentiation to stand out. Superior brands get noticed easily and command a premium. This applies to the corporate world as well.
Typically, companies find it difficult to choose from the large pool of engineers, chartered accountants, commerce and MBA graduates.
Similarly, students find it difficult to distinguish themselves from the masses.
Just like your thumbprint, your personal ethics, values, soft skills, interests and traits of an individual vary. It is imperative to differentiate yourself from others and build your own individual brand.
Personal branding is a blend of an individual’s personal and professional attributes that makes him or her stand out in a crowd.
Here are some pointers on how to use your strengths, skills, passions and values to stand out.
Your personal brand
Primarily, personal branding stems from a crystal clear vision of what you want to achieve. You must have a vision of where you want to be in the next five years.
When you go through the Personal Branding process, you develop incredible self-understanding about what makes you unique, valuable, and powerful. It helps optimise and flaunt your strengths.
Once you know what is unique and compelling about yourself, you can use that information to create visibility to those people who will help you achieve your goals.
Show how you matter
Knowing about you is the first step. You need to start communicating to the outer world.
The key to personal branding is innovation. It is not about doing different things, but doing things differently. Ask yourself how much information you want to communicate and decide on how you want to showcase it. A product sells best when packaged attractively.
Social media can be the biggest tool to build your brand. In the pre-Internet era, the actions used for personal branding were quite different. Now, there are numerous options to make your mark in the vast space of the World Wide Web.
Start writing on topics that you are passionate about; a good blog can be a key channel to showcase your interests, knowledge and ambitions. A little up the innovation ladder would be creating a personal website with video logs (Vlogs) and an interactivity option. Since recruitment has entered the realm of social media with professional networking sites, it is important to be visible when there is a search for profiles.
Update your brand
Your interests and skills evolve continuously, hence take feedback from peers and friends and keep updating your personal brand. Identify areas of expertise that can enhance your capabilities and invest in building the same. It is important to develop and portray your professional brand to meet your career aspirations.
Strong, resilient brands charge a premium for their products and services, and differentiated job-seekers who know their value can command higher salaries.
You should be proactive rather than reactive to achieve a wholesome brand ‘You’. However, it is never too late to start building your brand. Happy branding!
(The author is CEO and MD of Randstad India, a leading HR services company.)