List-building is a great method for evaluating the effectiveness of your personal brand. By taking an inventory of all of your available assets you can then look at how to stitch them together into a cohesive brand message that communicates your unique value.
Why is your personal brand important?
With so many networks and platforms out there to help you carve out our digital (and non-digital) presence, it can be easy to lose track of all of the bits of information you’re collecting and sharing, and end up mismanaging your professional reputation.
Your reputation is essentially a personal brand or at least a very large piece of it.
Personal Brand is comprised of the value that you bring to the table (skills, strengths, experience, training, resources, etc.). Plus the vehicles you use to communicate and present that value (resumes, cover letters, profiles, blogs, interpersonal communications, etc.).
While it’s not necessary to address every one of these categories below, you can use this handy list to take a personal assessment of :
- what you’re putting out there about yourself
- how it’s being presented and interpreted
- and how that information might be working, or not
These are your career standards, the traditional components of your professional image that are not just part of your personal brand, but more so the vehicles you use to communicate, position and present it.
- Cover Letter
- LinkedIn Profile
- Portfolio or Website: Think about design and branding, and how that appeals to your core audience, and represents both you individually, and your work.
- A Network of Contacts: What kind of people do you have your network? The goal is to establish quality relationships with others in your industry that you can potentially leverage, and create visibility for yourself.
Education & Skills
- Specialized Skills: What are the core skills you bring to the table, your strengths, your areas of expertise? Why would those be of value to your target audience? What additional skills could you acquire that would add additional value?
- Education & Training: What kind of educational training do you bring to the table, whether it’s basic coursework or a Master’s degree?
- Advanced Professional Training: Have you attained any certifications or additional professional training?
- Additional Skill Sets & Talents: What other skills do you have outside of your education and training, perhaps that you acquired on the job, or taught yourself? How might these tie in with your career focus, or add some new perspective?
- Social Media Profiles: Don’t let the personal undertone fool you – are you projecting a persona on social media that doesn’t reflect how you want to be represented on a professional level?
- Thought Leadership: Do you have a personal or professional blog that represents a particular area of importance or interest to you? How do you use this to engage and connect with others?
- Outside Interests & Ventures: Do you have a side business, an active website, or a creative pursuit that you dedicate time, energy, and resources to outside of your traditional work responsibilities? What skills are involved, or has this area allowed you to develop, that might be worth noting?
- Freelance or Project Work: Work or non-work related, what projects are you involved in and what skill sets do they require? Even if they aren’t related to your career focus, what might these accomplishments say about things like your work ethic, your ability to interact with clients, your relationship-building skills, your entrepreneurial flair?
- Organizational Involvement: Think about any additional volunteer or advocacy work, or causes that you support, lead, or are involved in. Why are they important to you?
- Appearance and Dress: Do you uphold a professional appearance on a daily basis, or only when you’re on the spot for an interview or networking event? If someone were to see you on the street, what kind of vibe would you be sending?
- Mannerisms & Non-Verbal Cues: How do you carry yourself when you walk into a room, address someone in conversation, or while listening to someone else speak? Are you well-composed and confident, or fidgety and nervous-seeming?
- Communication Skills: How clearly are you able to address someone and get your message across when asked about your work, your interests, or to introduce yourself to someone? Are you talking too fast, stumbling across your words, mumbling? Or are you speaking slowly, clearly and fluidly in an engaging manner that captures your audience’s attention?
- Language: Do you tend to transition back and forth between professional and casual, dropping derogatory or inappropriate language in conversation, or saying “Umm” and “Like” a lot? Does your language reflect the level of respect and credibility you’re trying to achieve?
Once you’ve taken inventory, it’s helpful to look at all of the different components and make sure each one is supporting the overall message you’re trying to convey. The best way to gain clarity around this message is to ask yourself:
“What do I want prospective employers/clients/peers to know about me, as a candidate, as a professional, or as a person?”
This will help you recognize immediately if any of those aspects are not in-line with your brand message, and fix those loose cogs.
BRS looks at your entire professional portfolio and helps you address what will get you noticed and get you hired. Learn more.