Confident presentation skills, a smart appearance, and being personable in job interviews and important meetings are valuable attributes.
A warm handshake and lots of positive body language can help create an instant connection.
However, thanks to modern technology, there has been a shift in how those things need to be conveyed and positioned. You have new digital communications tools that can potentially enhance or impede your ability to make the right impression.
This can be especially significant when you need to “sell” yourself to potential employers and other decision-makers online by convincing them that you have a strong personal brand.
What is a personal brand, why does it matter, and how can you optimize tech to make what you offer compelling and memorable?
The Basics of Personal Branding
It’s worth starting this exploration of the importance of having a personal brand in the technological age by quickly dispelling any myths or misunderstandings about the nature of a brand.
Just as a company or product branding is not solely about the logo, your personal brand identity is not confined to your resume, appearance, photograph or other physical things.
Branding is akin to storytelling. It’s about creating a strong, compelling and memorable profile.
It also links to your own unique selling points, the attributes that differentiate you from your competitors and colleagues.
That is not just about your qualifications and experience but also the ways that you have applied them to solve problems and find innovations and improvements.
So, in effect, your brand will build in elements of your reputation and how others see you, alongside your own unique contributions and ideas.
What is The Main Aim of Self-branding?
An expression often applied to modern life is that you have to “cut through the white noise.” Technology has greatly escalated and amplified the way humans communicate, resulting in a cacophony of digital chatter, sales spiels, and background noise.
This makes clear communication even more vital when you are trying to stand out in a job interview, convince your boss to promote you or present an important report or concept to colleagues.
If your career involves any kind of sales or marketing activities – or relationship-building with suppliers, customers, or other stakeholders – then you certainly need to get yourself noticed, heard, and understood as effectively and efficiently as possible.
To make this work, you must communicate information succinctly and powerfully and convince your audience that you are someone they can trust and have important things to say.
In other words, you show them your personal and professional identity (your brand).
Reflection for Self-branding
The reflection process is especially important if you are seeking career advancement in an overcrowded niche or if you are interested in attractive job packages that are only awarded to the most suitable candidate.
It is also important to entrepreneurs in highly competitive marketplaces, who need to motivate their workforce, secure investors, and win major contracts.
It starts with assessing your personal and professional skills and the knowledge and understanding that you have amassed, which is both relevant and applicable.
Taking elements of that, you can then develop statements and evidence that clearly illustrate your expertise and experience.
It could be that, as part of this self-evaluation process, you realize there are qualifications, techniques and capabilities that you need to fill in any key gaps.
For example, you may decide that your ability to deliver reports in digital forums needs some work.
Competence and Warmth
Two of the core components of your personal brand are likely to be the twin attributes of all successful business relationships – competence and warmth.
This is true whether you are dealing with peers, your team, suppliers, customers or anyone else.
Competence is relatively straightforward in terms of building your personal brand. What technical or professional expertise and knowledge do you have that can be applied successfully in your workplace?
The word ‘warmth’ may be the surprising element. However, relatability is still a valued attribute in all aspects of business and the workplace, though it can be especially tricky to convey when using technology for a presentation, interview, or sales pitch.
It is rather logical. Whether an employer is considering hiring you or a customer is assessing your product or service, they want to know if they can trust you.
Showing your personal attributes, such as appropriate humor and a genuine interest in other people, can give your audience greater confidence that you are someone they can rely on in long-term working relationships.
Including personal narratives in your resume, interviews, and presentations can also help show that you are relatable and warm.
Some lighthearted storytelling or relevant anecdotes can be a great icebreaker and a relationship-building block.
Leadership Qualities in Your Brand
Knowing when to apply the ‘human touch’ – and the right places to show humility, curiosity, and compassion – can be all part of defining yourself as a leader rather than a manager.
To progress in any career, you also need to convincingly demonstrate your other leadership skills. Business leaders can be found at all levels and in all industries now, as employers are increasingly relying on people with this skill set to motivate and support their colleagues.
What sort of Leadership Skills Could be Included in Your Personal Branding?
Your emotional intelligence and ability to show empathy would be high on the list, which would loop back to the need for warmth and relatability.
Your strong work ethic and ability to be versatile and responsive would also be crucial parts of your leadership profile. Can you adapt to the needs of any team and maximize project outcomes seamlessly?
Integrity and honesty are clearly highly valued by any employer who is looking for candidates they can depend on.
Innovation and creativity – tied to a good understanding of business needs and goals – can be a highly valued leadership trait.
Problem-solving, critical thinking, and analytic skills are also highly prized leadership attributes. These need to include finding ways to do things better or cheaper consistently, not just being adroit at tackling major issues.
Communication prowess underpins all of these other leadership skills and is potentially the most significant element of your personal brand. Especially your ability to harness IT to share information compellingly and clearly.
Why Use of Modern Media is So Crucial
Imagine how much more polished your self-branding would be if you had enhanced skills in modern media techniques. You can fully optimize some of the opportunities and techniques discussed later in this article.
However, your personal brand would need to include how well you can use IT to gather and present information on behalf of your employer, not just yourself.
Many job posts for business administrators, communications or professional services jobs now require graduates or other candidates who can demonstrate a broad set of up-to-date IT abilities and knowledge.
You may well need to deliver presentations about your credentials, ideas, or plans to a dispersed audience using virtual meeting technology. You could be part of remote or hybrid project teams, demanding that you have strong digital media acumen to cement your contribution and leave a lasting impression.
Incorporating short but high-impact videos into your presentations is a good illustration of using powerful reporting and communication abilities to build your value to employers.
The joy of modern technology includes options to gather footage without ever visiting a location or being actively involved in a situation. You then need to know how to craft compelling video content, including persuasive commentary and, preferably, a cool intro for your video.
Modern technology has superb tools for promoting yourself or trying to persuade, influence, or educate your colleagues or customers. Much of that revolves around compiling the best content.
How to Perfect Reporting and Presentation Skills
As so many creative, management and service industry careers now revolve around reporting via modern media tech, going back to education establishments for the latest techniques and insights can be a good investment in a strong personal brand.
It can also ensure that you can memorably present that branding.
An excellent first or second career launchpad – or pathway to promotion – worth considering is an online Masters Journalism course. One of the advantages of St. Bonaventure’s online Master of Arts in Journalism programs is that they can flexibly fit around your existing job and any family commitments.
Yet, through one-to-one support, research, scenario-based projects, videos and other study techniques, you can get the most up-to-date skills needed to optimize digital media.
This could be a superb addition to the power of your personal brand.
Creating an Online Presence
Using technology to build and protect your personal brand – and to be successful in your job role – is not just about learning digital presentation skills.
There is another way that the latest media opportunities can be used to establish your personal and professional credibility.
It allows potential recruiters and other stakeholders to research you on their own time and get a flavor of who you are and your experience.
You can also draw attention to some of your digital footprints in resumes and interviews.
This could include having your own personal website to showcase your career to date or building a portfolio of contributions to third-party websites. Blogs and vlogs are excellent ways to build and sustain a personal brand.
Of course, it is important to ensure that any articles, blogs, or posts you post online are consistent and appropriate.
The more diverse and creative your online presence is, the more successful it will be in illustrating your ability to use digital media to communicate.
Does that include social media?
Keep in mind that some employers, customers, and other interested parties may audit your social media accounts to build an appreciation of who you are through your communications.
This makes it crucially important that nothing in the public realm contradicts your personal branding profile.
Instead, you could consider using social media to enhance your self-branding, such as sharing tips and wisdom that demonstrate your competence and warmth.
Balance that with avoiding posting information that is unauthentic or boastful. Remember, honesty and integrity are key leadership abilities to include in your personal brand.
Also, make sure you are using social media in an effective and appropriate way. For instance, a hard-hitting post containing professional insights belongs on LinkedIn, not Facebook.
Alternatively, if your personal brand includes being an innovative, energetic, and effective advocate for consumer products, you could consider creating fun videos on your TikTok or Instagram account.
If you struggle to find the time to juggle social media posting and other techniques to promote your personal brand online, you might want to consider using a social media app that coordinates and timetables your activities.
Networking and collaborating
As a technique for building and promoting your self-branding, networking is something you can do both offline and online.
For instance, you could join relevant social media groups for your profession or geographical area and attend trade events and conferences.
There was a time in business when it appeared that what you know could sometimes count for less than who you know. If that was ever true, it is certainly not today.
That said, mentors, advocates, and affiliations can substantially enhance your personal and professional profile.
Implied or real third-party endorsement grows your trustworthiness. Networking also provides great evidence that you can communicate well with others.
The sort of relationships you nurture during your digital and physical networking should be as trade-specific as possible.
For instance, if you can demonstrate you have collaborated with or learned from highly respected figures in your chosen business field, it adds to your credibility.
However, joining trade or local business associations can be a valuable step, too. Not least, networking with peers and other parties will build your knowledge and contacts.
Exposure to industry forums and other relevant trade websites can also add to your online presence.
If you are seen to be exchanging news and insights or asking pertinent questions, it all adds to the concept that you are willing to learn and collaborate.
More Professional Support
Depending on your career goals and how much you want to invest in progressing your career, you could also consider finding digital and real-world allies to help you project your personal brand successfully.
There are recruitment firms and HR consultancies that specialize in a diverse range of industry niches and requirements.
You might also want to consider paying a fee for a specialist advisor to evaluate your resume or help you improve your presentation skills.
Another way to make your personal brand more effective – and gain valuable experience and exposure – is to speak at events (virtual and physical ones).
Telling your ‘story’ at conferences and workshops can help you perfect your presentation skills and test responses to your self-branding.
The feedback can then form part of your reevaluation or evidence of effective communication in professional forums.
Constant Reevaluation of Your Personal Brand
No matter how impressive your qualifications and experience are – and no matter how competent you are at projecting those using digital media – there is no room for complacency.
Building a personal brand is a journey, not a destination, and you need to regularly evaluate the relevance and persuasiveness of your brand.
Are there new or enhanced personal or professional skills that employers and customers are placing a high value on?
Using constant and thorough online research to reassess your self-branding means being able to quickly adjust it to match specific new opportunities, too.
Just as companies set up media alerts for when their brands are mentioned online, it may well be worth doing a similar exercise for mentions of your name or relevant professional terms.
At the very least, periodically reviewing your online profile will ensure it is consistent, up-to-date and relevant.
Finally, you need to be you!
A carefully crafted and proficiently delivered personal brand can put you front and center when applying for jobs and promotions or help make your career successful overall. However, it is essential to remain authentic and transparent.
That can mean balancing the need to tell your story and showcase your merits, ideas, and experience alongside a few more human attributes. For example, if you ask questions, share advice freely and display a willingness to learn, it can improve engagement and trust for your personal brand.