How Important is Personal Branding?

…Now that you’ve got a career plan, it’s time to begin your personal branding…

We probably wouldn’t be human if we didn’t worry about how we are perceived by others. In this blog, I’m addressing personal brands: how we appear to others; how (well) we are received; and most importantly, take our marketing pieces to the next level…

Most job seekers operate off of the same “content resume” they’ve drafted through the years, adding to, or deleting items, as they go along. Most people set up a LinkedIn profile, and then neglect to update it over time. Most job seekers are not even aware of the many tools they have at their disposal to market themselves, and further, have not learned how to market themselves on all the digital platforms at their disposal. Most don’t do annual “scrubs” on their marketing pieces. And a lot of (old) marketing pieces have legacy formatting that jam up applicant tracking systems.

Personal Branding: What brand values are associated with your professional name? 

As you work your way through adjusting/re-creating the content and formatting of all your marketing pieces, you might also spend some time thinking about your personal branding and the “values” you are communicating within that content.

From day one, with mediaINTELLIGENCE.ca, I’ve held tight to 3 core values:

  1. Top standard professionalism and delivery of services
  2. Transparency: de-mystifying career/job search best practices
  3. Inclusion: Everyone’s a “somebody”.

I didn’t actually cast these in stone from day one. But they are the themes that have emerged over time, that mean the most to me in the delivery of my services. And I believe these core values, while not explicitly delineated in words, are nevertheless implicitly included in my day-to-day work life. And I’m quite sure anyone who has worked with me would agree my services are customized to the individual needs of my clients, tailored to their specific job-search challenges, and most importantly, you get “behind the scenes” information and best practices in how to effectively manage your career.

So, what would you like your personal branding to look like?  What values or themes are the most meaningful to you, in the delivery of your services? Give it some thought. It’ll add some “gravitas” to your overall messaging.

Start at the beginning…

Pro Tip 1: If you’re going to give your “overall look” a serious review, it’s highly recommended you start from scratch! Print up all the marketing materials you have, from your business card, to your resume, email signature, cover letters, web page or blog, business card, et al… Get them all into one pile, and take a good long look at how cohesive they are in terms of fonts, use of (white) space, visuals, contact info, digital currency/hipness, graphic design… Take all your established marketing pieces, and compare them to resume samples you can easily find online through a Google search. Think about Goggling “2017 resume samples” or, “2017 business cards”, etc.

Yesterday’s “content resumes” have definitely transformed into today’s “visual” a/o “graphic resumes”. (Don’t want to put you off, but you might also give some thought to the next iteration on the horizon: video resumes/video bios too…) Speaking of marketing materials, here are just a few samples of the “marketing tools” you will need to market yourself either for a full-time job, or as an independent contractor…

For those seeking staff jobs: resume (PDF format), references; a long format Bio; cover email/cover letter (best suggestion is to put your cover letter and resume in one PDF file and send by email); business card; LinkedIn profile (do not under-estimate the value of LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations!); email signature; and hotlinks to web pages that showcase samples of work you have created a/o delivered.

For entrepreneurs/freelancers: you will need “written copy” that outlines your product a/o service (read: all-purpose copy that you can use in all your marketing materials); testimonials (one-liners from top brands/names – go for the gold, always); a Bio (in short and long formats), a “business development email template” which introduces/outlines your product a/o service; your business card; internet presence on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, a/o Twitter, etc.; email signature; and finally, a web page, site, or blog.

Pro Tip 2: More and more, people are incorporating visuals in their marketing materials (read: word clouds, logos, graphic resumes, hotlinks, icons, newsletters, flyers, blogs, videos, memes, podcasts, photos, (did I mention videos? 🙂 …)

When you’ve finished reviewing and editing all the “content” for your marketing pieces, then you need to turn your sights towards building your brand, by using signature color(s), font/typeface for all your marketing pieces. They should all look similar, and be consistently laid out, with full contact info and web presence(s) front and centre. A title/role would be nice too ie., Content Creator or Project Manager or … whatever it is you specialize in.

Pro Tip 3: Start with your resume. Once you have finalized the content and the look of it, transfer/adapt the same “look” to your business card, cover letter template, email signature, etc. The trick is to establish your brand, be consistent in your look, and use these tools to increase your visibility, and build positive engagement with your community of peers.

Last but not least, two things: 1) Please remember that your name is your brand. Use your first and last name at every opportunity when answering calls, signing off emails, or introducing yourself; and 2) your signature “look” evolves just like you do, over time. Get the first iteration (read: YAY re-invention!) of your brand completed on all your marketing pieces, and then be sure to “review them annually” around your birthday – this will ensure your brand evolves over time, and stays current with market best practices year over year.

Establishing your look, and managing your brand, will indeed be well-received by professionals reviewing them. The amount of work you put into them will show/tell others that you’re a diligent, thoughtful professional, who understands the need to build, showcase and maximize a brand.

Do you have any questions about brand values? Don’t be shy! Call or email: nadon@mediaintelligence.ca | 416.533.6788

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