Building brand “you”: Why personal brands matter

by Janie Smith26 Jun 2014
Developing a personal brand may sound like a daunting task for busy HR professionals, but it can be a key part of moving your career forward.

“Many of the most successful HR leaders in Australia today have, in my view, at least developed some form of a personal brand,” David Owens, managing director of HR recruitment firm HR Partners, told HC.

“Putting so much commitment and so much of oneself into ones career inevitably leads to you making an individual marque. It is that marque that identifies the individual and they become well known for having delivered a particular outcome.”

He said that an HR leader who steers an organisation through a significant period of change, be it an acquisition, a merger or a change management process, often finds that the experience helps them to create a certain brand for themselves.

“Your brand becomes your signature and when someone asks us to identify a particular kind of HR leader with a known capability in a particular field, your brand can help put you at the top of the ‘go to’ list.”

Strategist and author Megan Dalla-Camina shared her top five tips on developing a personal brand with the Huffington Post.

1.Be authentic
According to Dalla-Camina, crafting your image the way a politician is moulded into whatever the constituents want them to be is not a sustainable career strategy.
“You need to develop your personal brand in light of who you actually are. Look at your strengths, your likes, where you shine, how you like to dress etc. When you strip away the mask, who are you really, and how can you show up in a way that allows your true authentic self to show through? That is the essence of your personal brand, and the only essence that you want to build on,” she wrote.

2.Make sure you can “be you” where you work
Once you know who you are and what your brand should be, find a way to bring your “full and authentic self” to work every day.
“If you feel confined, constrained and like you just don’t fit with how you are expected to show up in your work, then here is a hint – you may be in the wrong job. So have a think about your passion, purpose and reason for being, and see where it leads you. You may need to make a change to truly thrive at work.”

3.Be known for something
Dalla-Camina wrote that the key is to build your skills and knowledge and become known for them in a way that differentiates you from everyone else. It’s also important to be specific on what you’re known for.
“If you think you can be known for everything, you run the risk of being known for nothing at all. Get clarity, build your deep expertise and then you can become known for it.

4.Get your behaviour in check
What you are known for is as much about how you do what you do, as it is about what you actually do, according to Dalla-Camina.
“Think about things like being kind, being respectful, showing up on time, listening to others and not being a gossip. Behaviours matter, big time. So focus on mastering yours.”

5.Build your own personal brand online
“How you show up online is just as important (or maybe even more important these days) than how you show up in person. It can literally make or break you, in terms of others' perception and your reputation.”
Dalla-Camina recommended doing a Google search on yourself to find out what is out there on the web about you.
“Think about your social media presence, your personal website or blog, how and where you comment online, then look at what you are saying and how people are responding.”

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