Have you ever googled yourself? Most of us have. In fact, recent research from Bank of America’s “Trends in Consumer Mobility Report” found 6% of the population say they google themselves every day! While that may be extreme, 57% of millennials surveyed admitted googling themselves “frequently,” along with 48% of gen Zers and 45% of gen Xers.
What’s more important is who’s googling you. According to Monster’s “Job Applicant, Beware: You’re Being Googled,” 77% of employers report googling or otherwise researching candidates. What comes up in your search results? Hopefully it’s positive – and whole. If you’re reading this article, it’s probably not – and you’re wondering, “how do I build my brand?”
Read on to learn how to brand yourself.
If you can’t be relied upon to show up to meetings on time or lend a hand when someone asks, your personal branding efforts are not going to matter. You need to keep your word and see your commitments through – or else no one will believe you anyway. Show you can be depended on for the simple things first, then people will trust you when you present the big things. This will serve as the foundation for a strong personal brand. Remember, your actions speak louder than your words.
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. And your appearance is your first impression – so don’t slouch. Make sure your outward appearance helps drive home the personal brand you’re trying to portray. You don’t want to be known in a professional workplace as the one who moseys in with t-shirts and flip flops on – unless this is appropriate for your work environment. Depending on your workplace, that might just scream lazy to higher-ups.
Be Present At Meetings
So many people just show up to meetings because they’re on the calendar. Avoid this approach. Know what’s going to be discussed before the meeting, conduct your research and be prepared with questions when you arrive. Show everyone in the room – especially the powers that be – that you’re engaged. Don’t hide behind a laptop, checking your email. Be present in the conversation and share your opinions. It’ll not only make you known but help build your knowledge for growing your personal brand. Someone just may notice your interest in a particular project and ask you to head it.
Go To Lunch
Whether it’s to a café near the office or in the breakroom at work, leave your desk for lunch. This will get you talking to people from all over the company – and even nearby companies. This type of casual networking may lead to new opportunities. Branding goes beyond your team and current tasks. Don’t be afraid to talk to people about your interests and career aspirations. You just never know what might come up!
Just because it’s called personal “branding” doesn’t mean it stretches the truth or is just marketing that other people want to hear. In fact, you’ll want it to be the truest reflection of you. People will see right through you if there are ulterior motives to your personal branding efforts. Do some digging internally to hone in on what you’re good at, what you can become better at and what you’re interested in. It’s important to focus your personal branding so it’s cohesive to the outside world.
Become A Thought Leader
Once you know what you want to be known for, it’s time to start building. First, listen. Do every kind of research you can on the topic – and form an opinion. Then, go to market. Start by sharing information on the subject of interest, then create your own content. Leverage social media to get your message out there. Consider starting a blog if you can keep up a stream of content. Create videos talking about the topic. Accept speaking engagements that come about because of your marketing. Your goal should be to become an authority and expert on the topic, and it all starts with you educating yourself on it.
Start A Committee
If your company is one that allows time for passion projects, this is your chance to bring your newly acquired expertise to the big stage. Think of how you can tie in your thought leadership to your job and the company’s mission. This will immediately boost your presence at work and make you accessible to a variety of coworkers.
While you want your personal brand to be cohesive, you’re human. This means you’re going to evolve. It’s natural; you’re expected to change. Just make sure you don’t jump from random topic to random topic. You’ll never be taken seriously or looked at as a true expert on any subject. The evolution of your personal branding should be organic and consistent in your moral code. It will help you grow your audience and exposure while staying true to yourself.