There are those talking about personal branding who are nothing more than ego-maniacs used to leading their high school clique. Personal branding is NOT the same as being the center of attention or creating a cult of your own personality.
In fact, a good brand is quite the opposite. Let me explain what I mean.
Your Personal Brand, Their Emotions
Think about Steve Jobs. What emotions come to your head...I think: innovative, polished and underdog power.
On the other hand, think about Paris Hilton. What emotions come to your head...I think: conceited, spoiled and lost at sea.
Now, think about yourself and how you want others to remember you. What three emotions come to your head?
Demanding popularity will typically get you enemies. However, being authentic, honest and real gets you respect.
But I Don't Want to Put Myself Out There
There isn't much of a choice. People who deny they have a personal brand simply end up with a very bad one. But people who proactively manage it are ahead of the game.
I was at a Project Managers networking event recently. Project Managers remind me of Engineers...technical, to the point and not necessarily comfortable networking. And that's exactly why they are so good. They get their jobs done, don't let emotions get in the way of delivery and don't waste time.
During one conversation, one man told me even just coming to this event was a huge challenge for him. And running his job search around building a personal brand was WAY outside his comfort zone.
So I explained a personal brand doesn't mean you have to jump around the room pretending to be something you are not. Think about Spock, from Star Trek. He certainly has a brand: meticulous, professional and straight to the point.
What qualities do you have that can help you do your job well? How do you want to be remembered by potential employers?
How to Start Creating a Personal Brand
Branding is a very creative process. So put on your creativity hat. Seriously. Think about three emotional words that might best describe you. Write them down.
Now think about what colors best represent those words.
What images best represent those words?
Now look at your business cards, your profile images and your professional headlines. Do these elements reflect your brand? If not, change them.
Those three words are going to inform everything you do. Every sentence you write. Every elevator pitch you deliver.
And the benefit of doing things this way is you will be seen consistently. You will be remembered for who you are.
If you feel compelled, please use the comment section below to share with me your three words. I'd love to see the work you are doing.
Joshua Waldman is the founder of Career Enlightenment and specializes in helping job seekers leverage social media to find work quickly.