Assess Your Personal Brand
By Elijah Thomas
We all like to look our best. We look in the mirror in the morning before leaving for work, check our teeth and iron our clothes. A professional brand assessment can offer the same level of cleanup for your online presence.
You would never show up to work looking anything but your best. So why would you not put the same care and dedication to how you are perceived as a professional?
Some questions to consider: How do you appear to others? What are your areas of expertise? What professional value do you bring to the table?
Understanding your professional brand is not just about assessing your skills and attributes. It’s also about how those skills and attributes are presented.
A professional brand assessment can be approached in four steps.
If you’ve never Googled yourself, consider doing so. Others do. Before you are called for a job interview, hiring managers are certainly performing an online review of your personal brand. And you should know what other people are finding out about you before they even meet you.
If you have a professional website or online portfolio, this is a good way to see if it appears high on the list if someone types in your name. You want to be sure that your accomplishments pop up and that their mentions outweigh any criticism of you.
Analyze Your Social Media
If you don’t have a strong presence on professional social networks, such as LinkedIn, then work on a plan to improve your position. LinkedIn is a great platform to create and publish original content. Find under-used key phrases in your industry and start producing great content.
Your thoughts on a topic are valuable, and you never know whom your words will reach or help. Producing and publishing content is an investment in your cultural capital. The more you publish under your name — whether on LinkedIn, a personal blog or mainstream publication — the more likely you are to be seen.
Create a Mission Statement
The best leaders have a mission. Creating a mission statement is all about placing yourself and your business in the best possible light. There is an art to storytelling, and great storytelling is invaluable for connecting with your audience.
This also includes your “elevator pitch” — a quick 60-second persuasive speech that communicates what you do and what your goals are in a way that sparks interest.
When you can talk about yourself in a concise and compelling way, you’ve laid the groundwork for others to engage in a deeper dialogue with you.
Put Together a Plan
Where do you see yourself in five years? Where would you like to be?
The answers to these questions don’t have to be specific, but continue to ask yourself follow-up questions until you get there.
The answer to where you want to be in five years might be that you just want to be happy.
So, what will make you happy? And how can you make that happen in your career?
It is important to ask yourself these questions because the answers will make your goals more concrete and easier to break down into manageable benchmark goals.
By assessing your professional brand on a regular basis, you are ensuring you are always looking your best. These assessments also allow you to take a pulse of goals — to see where you are, how far you’ve come and how far you’ve yet to go.
Your brand is your professional introduction. Make it a memorable one.