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Build a Better Career With a Strong Personal Brand

I’ve written about personal branding often. If you’re a business owner, celebrity, or executive of a large company, you no doubt understand the importance of your personal brand. On the other hand, if you’re an employee and not the face of an organization, you might question the importance of your brand. Let me state this loud and clear: personal branding is an essential element of career building. Whether you are an accountant, a restaurant manager, or a school teacher, your personal brand can play a critical role in determining the success of your career.

If you haven’t been paying attention to your personal brand, don’t panic. Technologies that make it easy to establish your personal brand are still relativity young—and many people have yet to take it seriously. You haven’t been left behind-- yet. In fact, you have the opportunity to be ahead of the curve and set yourself apart from many of your peers. But the time to act is now. A recent survey conducted by Kelly Services (http://tinyurl.com/38engr2) has indicated that a rising number of workforce members are recognizing the importance of personal branding. As Kelly Services General Manager Mike Webster put it, "Personal branding is taking on a new importance as more people take control of their careers and market themselves to a vast audience.” As you’ve heard many times now, one of the most powerful tools you have to project your personal brand is social media. Not surprisingly, the survey indicated that 52% of the workforce is at least “somewhat active” on social media. These numbers will only increase in the future as young men and women enter the workforce—the vast majority of them very active in social media.

Now, you may be wondering how exactly personal branding can help you in your career.
Remember that the central goal of personal branding is to position yourself as an expert in your field. If you’re an accountant, branding yourself as a highly qualified expert should have an obvious impact on your job prospects—whether you’re looking for a promotion, a new job, or new clients. If you are a restaurant manager, successfully branding yourself as an expert will increase your value to your current employer, will make you more desirable to other restaurants, and will make you appear more impressive both to your customers and your employees.

But there is much more to personal branding than just positioning yourself as an expert in your field. You also need to emphasize the unique qualities that make you who you are. Your friends and family know your personality—you need to make that personality shine through your branding efforts so that colleagues, employees, bosses and customers see it as well. You don’t want to be just an expert accountant—you want to be a young, bright, motivated accounting expert. Or an experienced, well connected accounting expert. Social media is a great platform for projecting your brand, but there are other great ways to do this as well. In fact, every time you communicate, you are impacting your brand. This includes face-to-face chats, email, and phone conversations. Think about the way that you communicate and what it says about you. Are you sending the messages you want to be sending?

Personal branding is as essential to your career as your resume. Each day, more and more members of the workforce are recognizing this and making it a priority. Don’t get left behind!