When we think of brands, we often think of big names like Pepsi, Coca Cola, or Amazon. We think of what distinguishes these big companies from their competitors, and makes us as consumers choose one over the others? In the same way, as professionals and job-seekers, there are elements of our personal branding that makes companies pick us over others?
Branding isn’t just for products or big-name organizations such as the Starbucks of this world. It’s the combination of tangible and intangible traits that make some products distinctive. It’s also the unique blend of characteristics defining who you are, what makes you unique, and what value you bring to the table of your career.
Recently, we’ve heard a lot about personal branding. What we seldom think about is how our own personal brands can help boost our career success. Most of us are not always proactive about building our career brand. However, when we don’t define our own career brands, others tend to do it for us.
If you’re not sure what your personal and career brand is, here are 7 questions you can start asking yourself to better understand what sets you apart and what value you add to any situation:
What problems do you solve?
To understand the value you bring to the table, you must first realize what problems you solve. In other words, you must be a solution to distinguish yourself. Are you good at solving tech-related problems? Is your talent in writing outstanding reports? This is more than just understanding your strengths. It’s about pinpointing specific problems you can solve for your organization or business.
What are you great at that others find difficult?
One definite way that you can set yourself apart is to harness a unique skill that others may not possess. If you’re the only one who knows how to code out of a pool of 100 applicants for a position for which coding knowledge is required, then you have an advantage. This advantage is part of your personal brand.
How do you help people?
Building a strong personal and career brand is also about being a leader. One of the pre-requisites of effective leadership is service. Every time you’re able to help others in your team or organization, your value increases and your brand is strengthened.
Why do you want to help people/solve problems?
Identifying your “why” is a crucial part of establishing your personal and career brand. The more definite your “why”, the stronger your brand. Are you striving in your career for a particular cause? What motivates you to excel and be your best? Understanding this and reminding yourself of this can go a long way towards building a strong career brand.
What life experiences do you bring to the table?
You are not just your job! You also bring to the table a host of various experiences that make you WHO you are! It’s the uniqueness of your experiences that also help you distinguish yourself and set yourself apart. No two people have the same life experiences, and what you have gone through has taught you invaluable insight and knowledge.
How do you make a difference in the world?
In order to establish a strong career brand, you must see yourself as making a difference in the world. Your contributions, service and experience are impacting your co-workers, team, organization and the world at large.
What would you do all day long if you had the time and money?
One surefire way to build your career brand is to build it around the things you love doing and are talented at. Ask yourself the question and those activities you come up with constitute your competitive advantage and are a crucial part of your career brand.
What other questions would you add to this list?
To Your Success,
The Corporate Sister.
Author: Solange Lopes
Solange is the founder of The Corporate Sister, as well as an author, entrepreneur and CPA. She’s passionate about helping women do work they love, build fulfilling careers and living life on their own terms.