When it comes to starting a job search or new venture (anything that requires you to know your values, service offerings, interests, and skills sets), we often struggle to think reflectively about ourselves. For this reason, we should frame the approach by defining ourselves like a brand defines itself, crafting a personal mission statement, and articulating a story about ourselves. We’ll outline three keys steps needed to create your personal brand.
1. Develop a Personal Mission Statement
Your personal mission statement should be a concise representation of what’s most important to you, what you desire to focus on, what you want to achieve, and, ultimately, who you want to become. This is a 3-step process:
Step 1: Identify Your Values
Step 2: Identify Your Goals
Step 3: Write Your Mission Statement
Another element that is important during this personal branding process is understanding career capital, “career capital encompasses the skills you have that are both rare and valuable and that can be used as leverage in defining your career.” ~ Cal Newport, assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown.
As Newport writes, “control over what you do and how you do it is such a powerful force for building remarkable careers that it could rightly be called a ‘dream‐job elixir.’” And what’s its essential ingredient? Career capital.
2. Start Creating a Personal Brand
What is a personal brand?
The art of building a unique brand around yourself as an individual.
A personal brand requires: (1) credibility, (2) expressing a unique voice, (3) consistency throughout your resume/CV, cover letters, online presence (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and/or personal website) and introducing yourself to others for the first time, (4) recognizable standard (your readers and fans can grow to recognize you), and (5) self-marketing to differentiate yourself from the competition. A brand gives you the power to come across honestly, clearly, and powerfully.
Why do you need a brand?
Well, it’s simple, you are showing potential employers, clients, and the world at large who you are and what you stand for. When you are able to articulate a consistent and well-developed brand, you stay competitive in the job market.
In short, personal branding is the modern resume. One interesting and creative approach to build your brand is to use pictures. Pictures have the ability to tell our stories better than written word. With studies claiming 43 percent to 75 percent of employers check social media prior to hiring, every young professional should invest in putting her/his best foot forward online, including her/his photos.
3. Tell Your Story
Human beings are storytellers, and each of us has a compelling story to tell about who we are, how we found (or stumbled upon) our interests, what motivates us, and what inspires us.
Storytelling is a key practice of leadership – giving meaning and contextualizing our past, present, and future through a cohesive story or series of stories.
At TEDIndia, Hollywood/Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur pinpoints his source of creativity: sheer, utter panic. He shares a powerful way to unleash your inner storyteller.
Watch his TED Talk here:
He says, “The stories we tell ourselves are the stories that define the potentialities of our existence. . . We tell our stories, and a person without a story does not exist.” He is a very philosophical and inspiring individual.