The increased awareness of personal branding is good, bad, and sometimes ugly. The good is that there’s a lot of great advice and resources to guide professionals who want to learn more. The bad is that there is a saturation of advice that can be confusing. The ugly is the perception of “personal branding” that is a mixture of both good and bad advice. Of course every step towards developing and expanding your personal brand is an achievement. But it’s also just as important to make sure that you brand with purpose. After all, you wouldn’t start a project at work without knowing who is involved, what needs to be done, why you’re doing something, and how it needs to be done. You shouldn’t treat your brand any differently. Whether you want to get a new job, change careers, or get promoted, make sure that these personal branding myths are not hindering your progress.
Myth #1. Evaluating your brand is not worth the time. In order to have an impactful and consistent brand strategy, you need to be clear on your message. Do you really know what others think about you? Does your perception of yourself match what others think? Are you clear on your strengths and weaknesses? If you can’t answer those questions, you need to take the time to evaluate your brand before moving forward. Tools like the personal branding survey can help you answer critical questions about your brand so that you have a clear strategy and can confidently deliver your elevator pitch at the drop of a dime.
Myth #2. All you need is an updated resume. Truth be told, the resume is dead. While it’s important to update your resume regularly, there’s more to it than just including current information. First of all, resume styles have evolved. If you’re using an old basic template you won’t be able to compete with candidates who have a strong resume that is keyword-optimized and reflects their personal brand. Take it a step further and you’ll see the resume is just the tip of the iceberg. To really compete and stand out from the crowd, you should incorporate social media platforms like LinkedIn and out of the box solutions like videos, online resumes, or a personal homepage in your branding strategy.
Myth #3. Being the loudest will impress others. No, actually, being the loudest simply means you’re the loudest—whether metaphorically or literally speaking. Be sure that your brand is authentic and not just a superficial facade. Bragging about your accomplishments and plugging yourself every chance you get can be annoying to others when networking. There’s sometimes the misconception that being quiet means that you are meek. But that’s far from the truth. It’s better to be the quietest person in the room who chimes in with engaging and intriguing conversation than to be the loudest person who others wish would just shut up. If you think strategically, you can gain an advantage by listening and observing others rather than doing most of the talking and missing important cues.
Myth #4. Personal branding and self-promotion are the same. Yes, personal branding is about showcasing your skills and unique brand attributes, but be careful about your approach. If your focus is solely on your goals and over-exposing your brand, (the “look at me” syndrome), people will quickly become uninterested in anything you have to say. You can prove to be an expert in your field by sharing information that others may find helpful. Find a balance by showing how your skills can solve another person’s or organization’s problem. If you focus on how you can use your strengths to give back through service and information, you will in return build a credible personal brand and increase your exposure.
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