What is personal branding? It is something that most people don’t know about yet is something that is crucial to you as a job applicant. Personal branding is the ongoing process of establishing an image or impression of yourself in the mind of others. This is essentially how you will sell yourself to potential employers – who you are as a person and why you fit what they’re looking for. This personal brand needs to constantly be groomed, moulded and improved as you gain more experiences and look for different jobs. This may be a difficult concept to grasp so let’s look at an analogy.
Branding is a core concept for most businesses and is vital to that businesses success. Do you think brands like Samsung, Apple and Mercedes-Benz would enjoy the same success that they do without a successful brand image? The simple answer is no. These companies have established brand images that consumers relate to their brand name that help them to drive their sales. When people look for a luxury car they go and seek out Mercedes-Benz cars because it has established an image of luxury and class.
Imagine two unbranded cars that are identical in specs, features and aesthetics. You slap on a Mercedes-Benz badge on one and a Daihatsu badge on the other. Which car do you think most people would choose? Which one do you think could be sold for a higher price? Even though the products are exactly the same the answer is Mercedes-Benz branded one. In fact, it will most likely be sold for more than triple the price of the other. This is because people associate Mercedes-Benz with quality and luxury and will automatically assume it is a better car than the Daihatsu. It will probably even have a placebo effect. Even after driving the cars people will claim that there is a difference between the two. Alternately, this would not have been the case when Mercedes-Benz just entered the car market because it had not established its brand yet.
So how do this relate to you?
You need to consider yourself as a start-up company. A new company that needs to establish its brand name and image amongst the ever-growing number of competitors. You need to see job applications like a sales pitch and your personal brand to be the company brand you are trying to sell. Just imagine how hard it is to pitch a start-up idea if you don’t know what values the company represents, what the company is trying to achieve and where the company’s priorities lie. Building your personal brand will allow you to:
- Find better job opportunities
- Build a bigger and better network
- Gain industry recognition
This will be a long road towards building up the brand that you want others to recognise, just like a start-up’s, but everybody must start somewhere. As a graduate or university student who lacks the necessary experience it will take some time but like we said, it’s an ongoing process. Personal branding is a reflection of who you are as a person, not just your experiences. You need to consider things such as:
Another good way of measuring your personal brand is just to ask your closest friends and family these questions. What do they think your value, passions and ideal traits are. It’s a good way of being self-aware and you may learn a lot about yourself that you have never known before.
The key to all of this is to be honest with yourself. If you think there are areas of improvement then go out and improve those things to build your personal brand up the way you want it. We will go into depth about how you can leverage your personal brand when job seeking in future blog posts. Stay tuned for more!
Measure your ideal traits using the Big 5 test.