Take a stand with your Personal Brand the importance of Promoting You in 2015!

I remember interviewing for my first professional job more than 20 years ago.  I was preparing to interview for a receptionist position in a small adhesives manufacturing company. Perusing the local newspaper, my eyes fell on this position. I knew I could do the job, so I circled the ad and dialed the phone number.

Preparing for my upcoming interview, I went shopping for a new navy suit, wrote my first resume and practiced smiling in the mirror. My confident and jovial phone skills helped me earn an interview. I brought my enthusiasm with me as I stepped through the glass doors of the office. I met with the President and General Manager, who took turns tossing questions my way. Thankfully, I was prepared for this volleyball match and I was hired! My new home away from home for the next four years.

I gained a lot of valuable knowledge about myself from that experience. I learned how impactful verbal and nonverbal skills are when presenting myself during an interview, a meeting or any client-facing interaction. This was my first epiphany of understanding the importance of and building my own personal brand.

Like a corporate brand, our personal brand is how others perceive and trust us. We buy name brands such as Johnson & Johnson because it represents several generations of quality family products. The same holds true for our personal brand: people buy from you or me based on those same ideals.

Fast forward to today. The art of building your personal brand still entails verbal and nonverbal skills; however, technology and social media have added a new twist to self-promotion.

Think about your clients. Are most of them doing business with you because of their relationship with you or your company? I am sure your answer is, the relationship with you. Reputation is the foundation of your personal brand. So how do you create and maintain your personal brand? After more than two decades of corporate growth, from receptionist to business owner and entrepreneur, here is what I have learned:

  1.  Choose your attitude – This is one of the four tenets of the famous Fish! Philosophy by John Christensen. No one says that everything is going to be easy, but it is better to go into a situation with a positive attitude than that of fear and defeat. People feed off of the energy you emit. Choose happiness!
  1.  Care about what you wear – As an Image Consultant, I always ask my clients, “If you have three seconds to make a great first impression, what would you like everyone to see?” If you show up to a meeting dressed inappropriately, i.e. ripped jeans and a t-shirt, the first impression will be a lack of interest in the client. However, showing up in a professional outfit sends the message here I am, I care about you and I am ready to do business. Remember, you want to choose the right attitude internally and externally.
  1.  “Social-ize” with intention – Look at your local paper—the job ads have dwindled to barely a half a page, if there are any listings at all. Our need to network via the virtual or social media conversation is just as important as meeting peers face-to-face.

Employers and job seekers use social sites such as LinkedIn to post jobs and screen candidates. HR departments do their best to Google prospective hires to see where their names are linked to. Be intentional with whom you connect. Link to colleagues you know, or maybe professionals you do not know, but are in your field or target market. Follow and comment on relevant blogs, or even start your own. Being known as an expert in your field is one reason you get hired.

  1. First Impressions – Building rapport by attending multiple social events is an effective way to establish your referral base. This is where your first impression is most important.  Confidently introduce yourself with smiling eyes and a strong handshake.  Remember, as they say, it’s who you know!
  1.  Resume – Where personal appearance and personality is the aesthetic side of the interview process, your resume provides the facts. Address, work experience, education and contact information are necessary to reinforce why the potential employer is interviewing you. Take time to research strong keywords to describe your previous job functions and hit the spell check to look for errors. Too many spelling errors send the message that you are careless.

We promote our personal brands every day in our professional lives. Our appearance, attitudes, in-person and social media conversations are all aspects a prospective employer or client uses as building blocks to establish respect and trust. It takes more than a phone call to get noticed. You need to take a stand to be heard…

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