Why Personal Branding is Important
In marketing, branding is typically the first step of the process. Companies brand themselves to give people an understanding of their identity before they broadcast their messages. The ultimate goal is to cause brand awareness, which is when people start talking about the brand and using it as a word for a specific thing – think ‘nikeys’ to refer to shoes for example. This is when their branding is working for them, because people are buying into what they’re selling.
This is similar to having a personal brand as a job seeker, as we’re not talking about people who have their own companies and “are” their brand, such as personal speakers etc. Today we’re focusing on why personal branding is important to job seekers; people who do not represent their own company or other companies.
You want to build and establish a personal brand as a job seeker so you can let people know what type of person you are, and what you give back to the community. Companies that like what they see will want to have people like you working in their businesses because it benefits them.
It used to be that companies branded themselves, and people bought into the company brand. However, there has been a shift: people trust people more than companies or corporations, which is why word of mouth is such a strong way of advertising – it gives social proof. Which review would you trust more: an advert by a company about their product, or an advert written by a person who has bought the product? Now companies brand themselves and look for people who would most likely fit into their brand. This is because of the trust in social proof we were talking about, and this means that people are no longer looking at only the company brand, but are more interested in the people that work there (whom have cool personal brands and are cool people) that are part of the company. And this is why hiring managers are now looking for people with well presented personal brands to add to their companies. Can you see now why it’s so important that you have a personal brand?
Your personal brand should reflect who you are as a person, and what you represent. This should be an honest representation of yourself and not something that you build yourself up as. It’s easy to do this dishonestly online and to project yourself as how you want people to know you, but in the long run, this will catch up to you, because there are two lives that we effectively take part in today – our real life in the flesh, and our online lives.
People are looking for authentic representations in life and this is why video is playing such a big role online – because when we meet someone in person, we have naturally built-in sensors that help us discern things about a person that you cannot get by speaking to them on the phone or online. Pictures can also be misleading as they can be posed to look a certain way. But video brings us closer to the person as it allows us to read their body language, which Vanessa Van Edwards says makes up to 93% of the conversation. She also explains how people are natural lie detectors and can pick up deception in a person relatively easily – even if they don’t quite know why!
Set some time aside to work on your personal brand. Remember that it’s not only online, but also in person, and first impressions can be made in both areas as well. Now that you understand why personal branding is important as a job seeker, you can take this further to apply to your career path and social standing.