In today’s increasingly global and competitive society, full of very similar profiles, being different is a necessity. Developing your own personal brand will help you to build a distinctive profile so that people can get to know you and recognize you and so that you can make an impression on others. You should start with a process of self-knowledge, analyzing your own experiences, as well as the opinions of the people closest to you. This will help you to identify your skills, values, potential, strengths, and weaknesses, and the competencies that make you unique. The media available to you – the Internet, social media, blogs, and networking – will be your allies to help you share who you are and what makes you different. Personal Brand: Be Yourself. Let them See, Understand, and Remember You
- YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Developing your own personal brand can entail a great deal of work as it is a summary of years of effort and dedication. Your personal brand is an aspect of you that is constantly evolving and that will be a reflection of the best aspects, both personal and professional, of your profile. There are as many definitions of personal brand as there are experts who discuss it, but all of these experts agree that it is “the impression you make on others,” i.e., the way other people perceive and remember you. As Miguel de Cervantes would say, “A good name is worth more than riches.”
In today’s more global and competitive society, filled with very similar personal and professional profiles, if you want to stand out you’ll have to develop a strategy that will help you differentiate yourself. You should build an image that helps you leave an impression on others. Remember this recommendation: “If you don’t say you are, they will soon say you are not.”
- CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PERSONAL BRAND
The first contribution to be made when developing your personal brand is to get to know yourself better. The reason for this is that, when you do, you’ll be starting from a basis of profound self-analysis that will help you to develop the best version of yourself, since through this knowledge you’ll be able to become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. This self-knowledge will help you to grow personally and professionally and will be the source of a development plan for the best version of yourself both from your perspective and the perspective of others. In this way, you’ll develop self-confidence and encourage the development of better self-esteem; this is also an excellent tool for professional improvement, both at your current job and, where applicable, to help you during the difficult task of finding a new one. In short, developing your personal brand will help you to manage and strengthen your best image both from within and from without.
If you have made the decision to start working on developing your best personal brand and think that it is an important task and you’d like it to come to fruition, you should be systematic and follow the steps outlined below very carefully:
- Self-analysis: based on the questions “who am I?” and “what am I like?” you’ll analyze the attributes of your personality, competencies, and values that you have to offer. You’ll distinguish between two types of profiles: hard, referring to the academic and professional achievements that you have accumulated over the course of your life; i.e., anything that you can document, for example: professional history, degrees, training certificates, stages of your career, specialized knowledge, languages, awards, etc. that will serve to provide a general overview of everything you know how to do. And soft, which refers to the set of qualities, interests, motivations, goals, objectives, and aspects you have yet to prove that will distinguish you from the competition. Many of these aspects you’ll be able to come up with consciously through reflection and self-analysis, as we all know ourselves well enough, but there are others that will not be quite so easy or ones that you have not addressed and will be beyond perception. It is therefore a good idea to approach the people who know you best, in all aspects of life, both personal and professional. These people may include: family members, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, clients, and – why not? – your bosses. All of these people will provide you with a set of characteristics, which may be positive or negative. You will add them to the ones you found in your hard profile and then you will have a complete description of yourself. There are some aspects of your personality that no one knows, that you keep to yourself because you don’t want anyone else to know about them. And there are still other aspects that are unknown to anyone else, even to you; keep them there, they won’t help you at this point. This profound analysis will help you to take the next step.
- What do I do to stand out? You are now aware of your values, strengths, weaknesses, notable aspects, etc. This is a good time to explore all the aspects that may help you to differentiate yourself from others, the aspects that you wish others to know about you. You’ll analyze the different media available to you and choose the ones that will best help you to reach anyone who may be interested in your profile; you must choose sufficient media to be able to leave an impression on others.
- How do I share? It’s time to get out there, to advertise yourself and leverage the help of the multitude of different tools available: the Internet, social media, a personal blog, etc., but don’t forget that to be fully informed of their advantages and disadvantages, as discussed below. At this point, you can now start to develop the aspects that will differentiate you such as a color, a font, or – why not? – a logo, and plan the steps you should follow to achieve your goal: determine the target audience that you would like to receive this information and disseminate your brand.
- A GOOD CV
One of the first objectives you’ll need to achieve is designing your curriculum vitae (CV), which will act as your introduction to any interaction in the professional realm.
Your CV must state your personal details. Never forget to include your phone number and email address to ensure that others can contact you securely, quickly, and efficiently.
Next, you should include information about your educational background, which should include the years you began and completed the program in chronological order beginning from the most recent. Below you should include supplementary training (languages, technology, etc., as well as your level in each).
Finally you should indicate your professional experience indicating the start and end dates, the company, your job title, and a brief summary of the main tasks you carried out.
You should put the most recent activity first because it is usually the most interesting and relevant.
Some experts say that you shouldn’t include a photo with your CV and there are also some countries where indicating your age or sex is not recommended so as to ensure that professional selection is based on purely academic or professional aspects. Nevertheless, inserting a photo helps to be sure that you are remembered if you’ve already been in contact with the company or have completed the first interview. This photo should have the size and style of a passport photo and you should look positive in it.
It is generally a good idea to not include your grades, even if they are excellent; the CV should be well organized and carefully worded; you should be sincere and, of course, never provide false information. Finally, indicating hobbies or pastimes is not relevant unless they are related to the job.
You should use clear and direct language; no more than two pages, though one is preferred; and you should always keep an updated version available on your computer in case you need to send it unexpectedly.
- SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media has become one of the best ways to disseminate information and, therefore, your personal brand. They are now specialized by sector or interest. Designed to exchange information between friends, Facebook is the social network par excellence that can be used as email or chat and now has over 2 billion users per month. YouTube is not far behind with 800 million visits per month and it is the leader for uploading and viewing personal, expository, and educational videos, etc. LinkedIn is another option with over 500 million users per month; it is a professional network where you can upload your own CV and it can serve to get in touch with professionals by sector, country, activity, etc. It is a great way to open yourself up to the job market. Any other network where information is exchanged, like Twitter or Instagram (with 300 million users per month) can also be helpful.
These are undoubtedly the best ways to reach any part of the world. While you’ll be available to any user in just a few clicks, this can also be a great risk for your personal brand. When your information is put out there other information about you can also be sent out by other users. This information is not only shared directly (user to user), you can rather immediately start at the next level (user of user). The information you created with such care can be used and manipulated by anyone with an Internet connection, which would cause you to lose control of your data. This is something that can cause your personal brand to deteriorate regardless of the amount of time and effort you’ve put in.
- PERSONAL BLOG
If you’ve achieved the right professional level when developing your personal brand, you can dedicate some time to developing a personal blog, which can be viewed as a personalized social network. Working on this personal page will be like decorating your own home; here you can develop your own personalized image for your brand, based on color, font, spacing, and even developing your own logo or slogan that will serve to differentiate you from others.
This system has many advantages as it is a free tool available online in many different versions; it is low cost, easy to create and maintain, and it is perfect for sharing content of any kind: photos, videos, presentations, opinions, articles, news, etc. all in line with your personal style. Using it is easier and more flexible than conventional social media and it will appear first on search engines like Google and Yahoo, moving up in the listing as you increase the amount of content on the page.
It is very important for the information to not be confusing and that the content shown is in line with your objectives. Therefore, you shouldn’t mix personal aspects with professional ones; the information should follow a guiding theme and be related to the fields you know about. You should pay special attention to posting regularity and maintaining cohesiveness.
A word to the wise: do not post any old opinion, especially those about private matters. Always maintain uniformity and review all the texts well before finalizing them and making them public, as they may jeopardize you.
This is the most effective tool when establishing a network of contacts, both personally and professionally. Your personal brand will gain value and quality based on the people with whom your share information. The most successful people are those who maintain a good connection with their network of contacts. Some people in the corporate world say that the majority of their success is the result of their efforts to maintain a network of important friends. Networking is the act of getting in contact and maintaining that contact, so let’s consider a few basic recommendations for this act.
Good networking is based on the principle of reciprocity, given that it is a two-way street. Contact is maintained based on feedback and sharing information; you should therefore be ready to establish contacts whenever possible: at workshops, meetings, conferences, and events in general. You can be the initiator of these events on occasion as well.
They will help you in the future, but in order for that to occur you must always be willing offer your assistance. Remember to get in touch via social media once you’ve made contact and be sure to preserve that contact for the future by sending information about your specialization every so often. Crucially, any commitment you make in this process must be completed impeccably. Trust lost at the outset cannot be recovered.
- FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS
It is time to summarize the above with a list of recommendations that will be very helpful in order to become an expert at maintaining and growing your personal brand. They are as follows:
- Never stop investing in yourself; receive training continuously and stay informed.
- Network any time you can. For example, when you write an email, don’t forget to include your personal brand in the signature. That way, your friends, professors, companies, new contacts, etc. will be able to find you more quickly.
- Work hard. Your personal brand is a tool that you need to take care of and keep up-to-date. There is always room for improvement.
- Use high quality images on your social media profiles, blog, presentations, and any other communications you send out. You’ll improve your image and your credibility.
- Be consistent with your networks.
- Find a message that identifies you.
- Be careful!! Building a good personal brand takes time, but destroying it is quite easy. Do not corrupt your brand.
See the video in the following link:
Aguado, M., y Jiménez, A. (2017). Empresas que dejan huella [Companies that Make an Impression]. Available at: https://www.agapea.com/libros/EMPRESAS-QUE-DEJAN-HUELLA-EMPLOYER-BRANDING-EN-LA-SOCIEDAD-CONECTADA-9788417229511-i.htm (Consulted 1/16/2019)
Aguado, M., y Jiménez, A. (2009). Employer Branding: la gestión de las marcas para atraer y retener el talento [Employer Branding: Brand Management to Attract and Retain Talent]. Cordoba: Editorial Almuzara.
Blanco, A. (2018). Dejando Huella [Leaving a Mark]. Adif. Madrid.
Collel, J. (2019). ¿Qué es marca personal? [What is a Personal Brand?]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdKsDHsOm5g&t=2s (Consulted 1/18/2019)
Collado-Durán, E. (2010) Tu marca eres tú [You are your Brand]. Editorial Norma. Madrid.
Jiménez, A. (2011). Employer Branding en España: situación y perspectivas [Employer Branding in Spain: Current State and Outlook]. Observatorio de Recursos Humanos y relaciones laborales, 46-52.
Leyva, A. (2011). Marketing en esencia; gestiona tu marca personal, profesional y empresarial [Marketing in Essence; Manage Your Personal, Professional, and Corporate Brand]. Editorial Granica. Buenos Aires.
LinkedIn (2017). Cuantifica tu impacto de tu marca de talento [Quantify the Impact of your Talent Brand]. Available on LinkedIn.
LinkidIn (2018). Tendencias en selección de personas para 2018 [Recruiting Trends for 2018]. Available on LinkedIn.
Martín, V. (2018). Cómo crear una marca personal de éxito paso a paso [How to Create a Successful Personal Brand Step by Step]. Available at: https://victormartinp.com/marca-personal-paso-a-paso/ (Consulted 1/16/2019)
Rodriguez Tarodo, A. (2012). Employer Branding: un estudio sobre la construcción de la marca del empleador [Employer Branding: a Study on Building Employer Brand]. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Madrid.
Perez-Ortega, A. (2008). Cómo convertirse en la opción preferente [How to Become the Top Candidate]. ESIC. Madrid.
Rampersad, H. (2009). Tu marca personal [Your Personal Brand]. Colección Acción Empresarial. Editorial Empresarial. S.L. Madrid.
Silvino, J. (1982) La Ventana de Johari [The Johari Window]. Editora Vozes Petrópolis (RJ) Brazil
I am very grateful to Dr. Emöke Jambor, a professor of Spanish at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and her research partner Dr. Julia Salamero Sese, for their invaluable help in editing and recommending improvements to this article.