Personal Branding Ideas for Young Professionals
In the first article in this series on personal branding, Personal Branding Sets You Apart, I pointed out that for college grads it's a necessity to have a personal brand.
Taking a page from the influential thinker Tom Peters, I recommended that you identify the qualities or characteristics that make you special. I also pointed out that you need to be clear about the specialized knowledge you have.
In this article, let me give you more helpful personal branding ideas. They are based on Allison Graham's book, From Business Cards to Business Relationships: Personal Branding and Profitable Networking Made Easy.
In next week's post, I'll look at Personal Branding Networking. It's a topic that's familiar to me since I was president of a networking group called BNI Montréal Premier.
10 Smart Personal Branding Ideas
1. As a young professional, you will likely associate with people your own age. However, it's important to interact with people outside your normal sphere of influence.
2. Make it a point to find a mentor. It may be a more experienced person and perhaps older person - although not necessarily - who will help you build your career.
3. Don't worry about your age. Make people like you, trust you, and believe you are competent. Always ask people how they like things when you need to produce or provide them with something. Liam Hickey "recommends that if you do things the way other people like them, they will think you are great at your job."
4. Project a professional image. Dress smart, express your thoughts clearly, and act professional at all times. Liam Hickey, guest blogger - see his article Think Like a Manager - adds that "some people know more than you, so phrase your comments as questions. Asking intelligent questions is good, but stating something that turns out to be inaccurate causes problems."
5. Even though you may be in your early 20s, if you consistently deliver on your promises people will take you seriously.
6. Project a professional image at all times no matter what the situation is. You never know who may see you at a social event where you are drunk or say something stupid.
7. Think of someone you admire the most. What qualities or behaviors does this person possess? Adaptable? Competent? Dedicated? Engaging? Flexible? Honest? Respectful? Make these qualities or other qualites you admire a part your own life over time.
8. Think about the image you are projecting at the moment. Do any of the following descriptions apply to you? Aggressive? Disorganized? Gossipy? Irresponsible? Selfish? Stressed? If they do, you need to work on improving your behavior.
9. Another suggestion from Liam Hickey is that you should "get clear on what you can offer an employer (your strongest skills and most useful knowledge) and who you want to be. When colleagues talk about you to others, what do you want them to say? Complete the following sentence: "I am known for . . ."
10. Liam Hickey offers some more personal branding ideas, including a specific example:
- Brand yourself like a good Web site. A good Web site turns away 1/3 of people immediately, because what is offered is not for them. Another 1/3 look for a couple of minutes, then decide it's not for them. The remaining 1/3 love the Web site, because it is *exactly* what they need. Employers will respect you for communicating clearly, and you will have a better chance at actual job offers with the ones who actually want or need what you offer.
- Example: One of my clients decided to become an ITIL Expert (a formal certification), which took about 18 months overall. He knew he wanted to do ITIL specifically in his next job, nothing else. So, the first line of his resume (after his name and contact info) read "ITIL EXPERT v 3." (At the time, there were less than 200 ITIL Experts worldwide.) Even the "Summary" header came after that line. It showed employers exactly what he wanted to do and what he offers as the first thing on his resume in just a couple of words. 1/3 want his other skills, not ITIL. 1/3 want ITIL, but they don't need the expensive ITIL Expert. The other 1/3 want or need the ITIL Expert, and those are the only ones he should speak with,
Find more personal branding ideas by taking the online multimedia course: How to Create a Remarkable Personal Profile.