Authenticity – The Key to Personal Branding

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

authenticityHow much thought have you put into your personal brand? Just like a large company, what you say and do as an individual can affect what others think of you, including your suitability for a particular job or role.

Many of us think that if we work hard and get the job done that our personal brand will take care of itself. But this is not necessarily the case. Your personal brand is something that needs to be cultivated and planned out, and then used to support your career success. It should not be based on ‘spin’ or fabrications, but instead reflect your true self. But how do you do this?

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when coming up with their personal brand is to try to create an image they think should be projected out onto the world. When it comes to creating the best personal brand for yourself, there’s one word that should be key; authenticity. At the core of your personal brand is your true self.

Many ‘experts’ will tell you that your personal brand should be shaped and molded to within an inch of its life, until you reflect exactly what you think your boss or the recruiter is looking for. The problem with this is that now instead of telling people who you are, it now presents you as someone other than your true self. And trust us, people can tell. Think for a moment about politicians. Their personal brand is carefully crafted until they seem to be exactly what constituents want; giving the ‘right answer’ on all the hot topics. That’s exactly why politicians regularly fall on the least trusted list for professions in Australia. Trying to be what other people want may give you a short-term boost, but it will harm your personal brand in the long run.

Instead, develop your personal brand to reflect who you are. It’s a good idea to start by thinking about your strengths; what are you good at, and what do you like to do best? Do you have a personal style or area of interest where you shine? What are you top three attributes that make you tick and how do these help you get the job done? How about your three greatest strengths that benefit an employee? All of these will help you figure out your USP—your unique selling point. Yes, just like every product and service on the market, you have one too. What is it that makes you special, that differentiates you from your competition for your next job?

Once you’ve figured out your authentic personal brand, you should use it as part of all your communications; online and offline. Include it in your resume, in online profiles on job sites, even as a signature in your emails. You may also like to consider using it on personal social media profiles. Remember that businesses and recruiters will look at many online hotspots for information on you these days.

By spending the time to develop your personal brand, you’ll be embracing what makes you unique and what makes you stand apart from your peers, which is exactly what the next decision maker you meet wants to know.

When you are ready to revise your online presence or your resume to reflect your personal brand, why not work with our experts? We can tailor your LinkedIn profile and your resume to reveal the professional you are.