Anybody determined enough can set in motion a powerful tool to develop a career successfully: a personal brand synonymous with a professional who has the knowledge, attitudes and skills required to stand out from the crowd in the labour market. This is possible because marketing is not only effective for the promotion of products and services, but also of individuals and, therefore, of the talent organizations demand.
This notion was first introduced in 1997 by Tom Peters, a prestigious American business management specialist. He did it through a visionary article called The Brand Called You, in which he defined “personal brand” as the “promise of value” that companies or clients will receive on the part of a certain individual.
“To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU”, states Peters, who claims that “Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark”.
Two decades after, the advices given by the author to build up a personal brand remain still valid. Although they’ve been adapted to contemporary times, just when new technologies have become a powerful ally for those seeking the best jobs available and those companies willing to hire the best human capital in the market.
Strategies to build up your personal brand
The first step every professional should take in order to create his personal brand is to identify everything that makes him stand out in his sector: achievements, strengths, and anything that might be of interest for talent recruiters. Maya Elious, one of the most renowned personal development consultants, summarizes it as follows: “Your value is based on what you’re capable of providing, on what you’re extremely good at”.
The plan that a person should develop to self-promote in the labour market must also include the added value he can provide to the company or final customer he’s aiming towards. “In order to position yourself properly you have to be aware of the challenges and issues a company is facing and how you can be part of the solution. Your value lies in what the company would lose without you as a member of the staff”, says Elious.
This value can be enhanced thanks to in-service training, and not only by taking a master´s degree or a classroom or online course; attending to conferences, talks and other similar events on the candidate’s preferred sector can be also very useful. In addition, that can help broaden your professional network. ”Your friend, colleague and customer network is the most important marketing vehicle you have”, reminds Tom Peters.
Gaining visibility is also crucial in order to build up a personal brand. Among the actions that help to be perceived as an expert worth hiring are content creation, as well as sharing knowledge and interact with other professionals through social media or networking.
In regard to social media, it must be taken into account that, if not used properly, they can be detrimental to personal brand development. Maintaining a good online reputation must be our aim, according to what Infoempleo and Adecco argue in their 2016 joint report Social Media and Labour Market: 86% of Spanish companies go over short-listed candidates’ social media before making their final choice.
In conclusion, a well-implemented personal branding strategy can make the difference in the development of a professional career. Peters says it clearly: “no professional is defined by his position or is limited by the description of his job”.