Brand Yourself!

Three teenage girls sitting on a park bench with all of their shopping bags and new purchases prominently displaying brands such as Ralph Lauren and Nike.

We all have brands we love, lots of them.  For me it is Asics, Starbucks and Banana Republic; these brands are "no gives" in my mind.  That means, unless they truly veer off course, I really do not look outside their brands for alternatives.  I love them because they engage me in ways that others do not.  Their features, consistency and personality clicks with mine and, therefore they earn my loyalty.  They anticipate my needs and wants and they communicate their 'reason for being' brilliantly. They know me.

How well do you know yourself?  People can also be like brands.   In my first class, my students were asked to give me 3 words that best describe themselves.  I saw words like "loyal, friendly, athletic, peaceful, happy, quiet, etc."   As you head toward graduation and into a career, it is important for you to understand what you want your professional brand to be, and how to make sure that vision for yourself resonates with those who look to hire you.    So where should you begin?  We all have BFF's, friends in our inner circle who know us often better than we know ourselves...these people are a good start. 

First, you must recruit those BFFs or BPFs (Best Professors Forever;), who will give you an honest summary of your strengths and weaknesses. This is sometimes a very humbling experience.  You must then decide if that assessment aligns with the person you want to be.  When it doesn't align,  it is time to look in mirror and make the changes you need to make to build your professional brand!  There are even sites available to help assist you as your build your personal brand!

It is also advisable that you closely manage your digital footprint to ensure that your professional brand is accurately represented.    That may be the first place your prospective employer looks to see if what your brand is all about.  When in doubt, a good guideline is to refrain from posting anything that would embarrass your mother! Happy Branding...