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7 Personal Branding Habits Every Professional Needs to Know

        posted by , January 10, 2013

How do you choose your cookies?

Do you look at the ingredients? Do you do a taste test? Do you check the reputation of everyone who was involved in bringing the cookies to market?

In a crowded marketplace of thousands of product choices brands help us make decisions. One brand of cookies always uses organic ingredients. Another brand of cookies tastes good. Without brands, it would be difficult to make purchasing decisions.

Careers work much the same way. Organizations want to hire people who have an established personal brand. In a crowded labor market, you can hardly blame them.

Your reputation is your brand. If you consistently deliver business value your reputation will follow … eventually.

In a competitive career, every professional should take some time to build their personal brand. Beyond training, beyond networking … personal branding will boost your professional opportunities.

These 7 habits are essential to building your brand.

1. Be Consistent

Ferrari makes high end sports cars. They don't make inexpensive minivans. They don't make peanut butter.

Consistency gives your brand meaning. It tells the world what you stand for.

If you've changed your career 7 times — find the consistent themes that run throughout your career.

Maybe you help organizations to manage change. Maybe you build strong sales teams and drive revenue. Your consistent record is key to your brand value.

2. Seek the Limelight

Brands don't hide in the shadows. They seek the limelight.

When you impress the people around you enough that they talk about you — your brand value improves.

People buy brands they recognize. In fact, they buy brands they know nothing about just because they recognize them. The more your name is spoken, the better.

People hide from the limelight because they fear criticism. Indeed, everyone who improves their visibility also collects more critics. It's not possible to please all the people all the time.

Nevertheless, visibility does wonders for your career. Having critics is one of the signs that you've made it. Every successful person has critics.

Don't get me wrong, supporters are better than detractors. You should try to win people's support where you can. However, the key point here is not being conservative, not hiding from the limelight.

3. Make Your Career Interesting Like a Good Movie

Be interesting.

It's called the bizarreness effect – people remember things that stand out.

Your unique brand of personality helps people to remember you.

Two years from now the people you're working with today will remember more about your personality than your professional accomplishments.

Think of yourself as a character in a movie. Are you the protagonist or a background character? Are you a character that people will remember 5 years from now? How about 20?

4. Shape Your Brand

Great product brands such as Starbucks don't just happen.

Someone nurtures them. Someone shapes them.

What are you about? What does your personal brand represent?

You should be able to explain your personal brand in 18 words or less. What is your core value? What's your style? What can people expect from you? What's your promise?

5. Generate Publicity

Speak in public and network as much as possible. It's as simple as that.

6. Look Beyond Your Career

Your brand extends beyond your career.

Share your professional knowledge in a blog. Interact in social networks with leaders in your profession. You'll quickly become a leader yourself when you contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.

Volunteer and give back to the community.

Excel in your hobbies. Excel in your personal life. Excel in your family life.

All these things contribute greatly to your personal brand. The best thing is, you can achieve these things without ever thinking about your reputation.

7. Hit Heights

It's the big things that people remember.

On the last day of your career you'll look back. You'll remember the people in your career above all else. Beyond that you'll remember your top 5 or 6 accomplishments.

When people look at your career. For example, if they read your resume. They'll only see your high points. If you have no high points – they'll draw a blank.

Give your all to achieve something truly worthwhile – people will remember it. You'll remember it.

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