London: Do you find it hard to get a foothold on your chosen career ladder? Fret not. Get that by creating a personal brand, says Ann Pickering, HR director for Telefónica UK.
A personal brand seems like a strange concept, but it’s actually incredibly important. It affects how people perceive you professionally, and can help you make that all important first impression - formed within just seven seconds of meeting, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
A research has shown that it can take as many as 20 interactions to change someone’s first opinion of you, so it’s vital that you make every second count. A strong personal brand can also give you greater confidence and open up more opportunities at Work.
Here are some tips by Pickering on how to create your own personal brand:
1. Identify what makes up your own personal brand. Assess everything from style, body language and tone of voice, to how you communicate on email or by phone. They may seem worlds apart, but what is the one thing that successful women like Clare Balding, Victoria Beckham or Deborah Meaden all have in common? All three have strong personal identities and have worked hard to create them. Even the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, wasn’t afraid to seek extra help to refine her brand, famously employing a vocal coach to lower the pitch of her voice and subsequently progressing from Cabinet member to Prime Minister.
2. Decide exactly what it is you want people to know about you. A good place to start is to think about why someone would want you in their team. Ask yourself key questions including - What are my values? What motivates me? What are my key skills, strengths and achievements? What can I bring to a team?
3. Concentrate on your key strengths. Once you have identified these, make the most of them by seeking out opportunities to demonstrate your skills, whether it means putting yourself forward for a specific role on a project, or working with someone who brings out your strengths.
4. Focus on the things that make you different - what makes you, you? Concentrate on the positives on both personal as well as professional level. Consider the way you react in everyday situations, whether it’s the way you manage people, how you deal with stressful situations, your creativity, or the way you think and process information. Write your answers down so you have a clearly defined set of objectives.
5. Critique it. Look back at what you’ve written and be ruthless. Remove any irrelevant or unnecessary detail and make sure that you’re using simple, impactful language, no jargon. Once you’re happy, seek feedback from others. Ask friends or family, or if you’re comfortable, other colleagues. It’s important to ask people who will be able to give you honest feedback.
6. Put it into action. Once you have identified what makes up your brand identity, you need to put it into practice. Think about specific projects and meetings that you have coming up and what you want people to remember about you. Simple steps such as giving yourself enough time to prepare can ensure that you come across in the right way.
7. Take it online. A recent Telefónica survey of 18-30 year olds found that young men are significantly more likely to identify technology as holding the key to future success than young women. This is a worrying trend. More women need to realise the opportunities that digital revolution can bring, such as using social media for networking and building a network of influence. Make sure that you use technology to your advantage. Keep your Linkedin profile up to date, join groups, participate in discussions and ensure that the brand you project online matches up with your brand off line.