Developing your personal brand is so crucial for your wealth-building journey. Chances are that you are the first in your family to navigate corporate America and the first one in your family to have a white-collar job. As a first gen professional this experience might seem a bit overwhelming. Let me tell you something, you belong in that room! Learning how to develop your personal brand is an excellent way to recession-proof your career.
What are the advantages of having your personal brand?
Developing your personal brand is a great way to build professional resiliency and help you advance in your career. When Recruters are looking for talent they also for indivudals with good values. A personal brand can help you recession-proof your career. How you asked, You can leverage your personal brand to move up the corporate ladder, increase your salary, start investing for retirement, or pivot into a new industry. About a decade ago or so, I started developing my personal brand. Although I didn’t have the proper terminology for it back then. That move allowed me to increase my income and cash flow about every two years and, eventually, become a top executive.
How to start developing your personal brand?
Understand that your professional brand is how others view you from the outside in. Now it’s not the time to pick up a hobby to “fit in.” Be you! If your boss asks you to join the local running team to secure a deal, but you hate running, be honest with your boss. I remember when a former boss told me I needed to learn how to play golf to network with others, and I was terrified to do so. I spoke up and told him about my fears, even when it was uncomfortable. Years later, I decided to learn this sport independently, and I enjoyed it. I would also suggest setting time aside on the weekend to ask yourself some questions.
What are the things you are passionate about at work and outside of work? Do you care for any social justice causes, if so what are they? If you would spend your time doing something for hours without getting bored, what would that be? Are there any non for profit organiations you enjoy volunteering your time to?
Once you have answered these questions, leverage social media to help you get connected with the companies and the organizations you enjoy. Follow those accounts, comment on their post and share their content. Introduce yourself to people on LinkedIn. Although, according to Forbes, having focus is key when you start developing your personal brand, “don’t try to be everything to everyone.” We live in an era where this is more normal than you think but don’t start the conversation by selling them something; people don’t like it.
What should you pay attention to when developing your personal brand?
Start by building your personal brand internally. Your coworkers are your biggest cheerleaders and sponsors. Would they mention your name in a room full of opportunities? Are you supporting them the same way you want to be supported? Keep track of your professional goals and use the SMART method to ensure those goals are clear and attainable. Check-in with your boss on your performance twice per year if possible, and use email follow-ups to recap conversations. Seek out internal company and community awards, and apply for nominations. Don’t wait for others to nominate you, make a move.
How does personal branding benefit your career?
As I mentioned earlier, one of the top benefits of developing your personal brand is increasing your income which is vital to your personal finances and building wealth. Increasing your income provides the extra cash flow to fund your emergency fund, which is one of the foundations of creating financial stability. Increasing your income also allows you to start investing for retirement and increase your savings rate, savings divided by income. Your personal brand can be the ticket to making work optional if that’s something you are seeking. Retirement is not an age; it’s the amount of money in your bank account.
What happens If you are an introvert who believes you are not good at networking?
Networking is a skill that can be developed the more you practice. I advise those seeking to establish a personal brand to stay authentic and net worth with individuals and companies whose values align with yours. It can be so tempting to want to “jump” ships simply to secure a new job or deal, but this is something you don’t want to do because your reputation is on the line. Now is not the time to pick up a new hobby simply because you want to get your foot in the door. Be You! We are living in a society where authenticity matters. If you feel a bit shy about networking, start an online conversation on LinkedIn or join a small networking group in your community to get started.
Are there any other ways to develop your personal brand?
Become synonymous with excellence at work and ask for feedback constantly. Enroll in free online courses to leverage your area of expertise or expand your skill set. Work with a mentor to help you develop your brand, how negotiate your salary and start building wealth. I also recommend having your personal website to share who you are outside of work and what you stand for. People love to connect with people; you don’t always have to be in work mode. A website is a great way to showcase your story! Lastly, use LinkedIn to share personal photos or hobbies. It doesn’t have to be all about work.
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