Successfully creating, promoting, protecting and preserving a personal brand will help professionals market their unique qualities and skillset to potential employers. A strong personal brand is very similar to a consumer brand in that it helps a professional establish what makes her different from other professionals.

James D. Speros, CMO of Fidelity says, “Personal branding isn’t just a tool for entrepreneurs and independent professionals. It can have powerful benefits for a corporate employee who wants to remain and excel within his or her company environment.”

Strong Personal Branding Key to Successful Career Advancement
[Image via Pixaby]
Why do professionals need to develop a personal brand?

Personal branding is an effective strategy that you can leverage to advance your career. Branding helps define your value to an organization. A good personal branding strategy will help potential employers easily answer these questions: Who are you? What makes you a great asset? Why should you be a part of the team?

There’s a huge difference between people who work at creating and nurturing a personal brand and those who don’t. Barry S. Saltzman, contributor at Fast Company, says, “The mutual relationship between career success and personal branding is a truly unique dynamic that, when understood, has the potential to launch a person to new heights.”

A solid personal branding strategy will help you build credibility, showcase your unique skills, connect with your target audience and leave a lasting impression.

How does online behavior influence personal brand?

Online behavior includes things like email exchanges, comments in news article threads, activity on social networking websites and thought-leadership projects. All of this behavior creates a perception of who you are. This perception becomes a part of your brand message.

Gerod Roth, a marketing executive in Atlanta, was fired when his boss learned he posted a racist comment about a coworker’s child on Facebook. Justine Sacco was fired after posting a racist tweet. And this woman was fired for complaining about bad tips on Facebook.

Business Insider’s list of 13 people fired for their tweets is a great read for anyone who still doesn’t believe that professional online behavior is important if you want to keep your job.

What role does social media play in developing personal brand?

Many employers have made social network checks a standard part of the talent acquisition process. A 2015 Harris poll revealed that fifty-two percent of employers use social networking sites to screen job candidates during the hiring process. These social network checks have become almost as common as reference checks and criminal background checks.

It’s important to note that many hiring managers and human resources professionals check for something other than job-specific information when doing social network checks. They’re searching for things like inappropriate pictures, bad comments about previous bosses, and racist or inflammatory remarks.

What role can a career coach play in a personal branding strategy?

Many professionals hit a road block when trying to decide just what their brand is – or should be. Also, some professionals want to rebrand themselves because they want a promotion or they want to move into a new career. Career coaches – sometimes called brand strategists – can be very helpful with the process.

Career coaches help you identify specific career goals. Once those goals are identified, the coach creates a strategy that will help you achieve your goals. The strategy should include a plan that allows you to hone all of your unique qualities and skills.

Laura McMullen, Careers editor U.S. News, says “some coaches are great at helping you, and others are totally winging it by Googling exactly what you’re Googling. That’s why you need to know how to find a quality coach, what to pay and what to expect from sessions – before you invest your time and money.”

If the only thing your career coach is going to do is write a resume, there are other professionals who can do that for a better rate. Make sure you find a coach who has an established brand. If that person doesn’t have an established brand, she certainly can’t help you build yours.

Is it possible to rebrand after a major misstep?

It’s a great thing that people are, for the most part, fickle. As evidenced by how quickly the media can move our attention from one subject to another, I feel safe saying, that as long as a person hasn’t committed a heinous crime, rebranding is possible – given some time.

A rebranding strategy must focus on three things: Who do you want to be? What personality do you want to convey? What type of behavior will you engage in?

You might consider investing in a personal website. Tyler Stevens, Personal Branding Enthusiast, says 63% of surveyed professionals found a personal website was a valuable tool in their long-term career aspirations.

As you move through the rebranding strategy, you will likely have people who remember what you did way back then. Stay focused on your new message: Who you are today. What your personality is today. What your behavior is today. Career Builder offers some great tips to help navigate through the process.