Personal Branding: How It Evolves And What It Means To Your Professional Journey

Personal branding is what you do to market your professional self as well as your personal traits. Everything that you showcase publicly can be and surely be a part, if not whole, of your personal branding.

There was a young boy in a village, his father was a farmer and his mother, a dedicated housewife and the best teacher he could wish for. Stricken by poverty, the boy was determined to change his destiny and promised his parents that he will give all the things they want. He did well in his study, went to a good university and moved to the city where he got a high-paying job. His stature rewarded him well and years after, he was happily married and now he is one of the top 1% in the country.

You might have heard of similar stories in our typical teledrama; going to Kuala Lumpur to find jobs, finally getting one and all of sudden the protagonists’ lives become better by leaps and bounds. Well this was true 20 to 40 years ago, when university graduates were highly regarded, appreciated and above all, rare. Those people were the elitists in the eye of the society, the intelligent bunch, those who are promised to inherit the land of the riches.

But it’s different now. Annually, Malaysia produces hundreds of thousands of graduates. 1 out of 4 of them remained unemployed 6 months after graduation. Out of the 3.45% of our country’s unemployment rate, about half of it are youths and majority of them have tertiary education. So, you have to ask yourself, what differentiate you from the others? What can you do to make you stand out? How can you increase your chances of getting employed?

Personal branding

Personal branding is also not alien to the change of time. It is not a mere name on a card anymore. It is not exclusive to entrepreneurs and people in business. It is a way for you to stand out from the sea of people out there whom objectives are the same as yours.

Personal branding is what you do to market your professional self as well as your personal traits. Everything that you showcase publicly can be and surely be a part, if not whole, of your personal branding. This includes what you post on your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, your personal descriptions as well as your résumé and CV. But, personal branding stretches beyond the virtual world. How you talk and communicate with others will represent yourself as well.

But the question remains, how to make a good personal branding?

We all have gone through the same situation; we went to Jobstreet, applied for a job and clicked on ‘Who Else Have Applied’ button. And we can see there are hundreds, even thousands of other people as well. It’s the same in other job-seeking platforms as well. Being a fresh graduate, or relatively new to the industry, what are your chances of getting that interview?

This is where you have to rethink your situation. Do you think you are the fittest person out there for the job? How can you be better? What do you have to do? Well, of course, it is a little bit of work and the reward is not immediate so first and foremost, patience is virtue. If and only if you got that in mind, then, we can proceed to building your very own personal branding.

Be Visionary

Businesses, organizations and establishments have their own vision and mission and so must you. Where and when possible, you have to showcase your vision. LinkedIn for example, provides a good platform to do so. Sharing your vision makes you a person with a long-term plan and will not settle until you get what you want. This gives a good vibe towards yourself.

To do this, you must know where are you headed to and in what respect. This is no longer the time to explore and wander, this is no longer the land of the dreams, this is the time to achieve it. Employers are not interested in those who are still searching for the right place for themselves. Even if you are in that phase, do not give that connotation because believe me, it will affect your chances.

Be decisive.

Being visionary also means identifying your values and passion. You can discuss them with your peers and families, but most of all, you have to be yourself. Persons that shares the same values with an establishment are more preferred as they understand the things that are upheld in the company. Together with your unweathering passion, you might be the one they are looking for.

So, what are yours?

Know your strength

We all want to be the same and different with other people at the same time. But in looking for jobs, you might want to highlight the differences more than the similarities. In your résumé for example, you can list all the soft skills you have but what do you know, so do others! In case like this, you have to be smart and choose a specific niche at which you are good at. Be advised, that niche has to be in sync with what the employers want. If it is not, you are just patting yourself in the back.

Sure, it sounds good, but that is all there is to it.

Sharing is caring

Social media have provided us with a good place to share our knowledge with others. If you are good at something, there is no harm in sharing it. Sometimes, you think that you are good enough but then you found out that you need to do a lot more of reading. And then you did, and you shared it. What does this signify? This shows that you know your field very well and you are not ashamed to expose yourself more to new knowledge and information. You are hungry for it and you are constantly improving yourself.

Sounds good right? Because it really is.

Get personal

Everything you post and write reflects who you are. You’ll be surprised if you know how high is the percentage of hiring managers using social media platforms to hire new recruits. Getting personal does not mean you can spam the wall with your dinner pictures and dating updates. Instead, you can post the things that are close to your heart, giving the sense that you are approachable but at the same time appeals to your customers, potential employers, connections, etc. For example, I absolutely love teaching so what do I post? Current issues in our education system, ways to improve it, stories about my student’s days and of course, my beloved teachers.

Oh, and mind your language.

Good attitude goes a long way

Attitude dictates every aspect of your life. Who you are behind that screen is as important as who you are in this virtual world, if not more. It will do you no harm to be polite to the others in everything you do and everywhere you go; at the workplace, at your local market, government offices, hospitals, or even on the road! (especially on the road).

Being polite and thoughtful to others train us to tolerate the external factors in our lives. We cannot control them but at least we can stay composed when we need to. It is beneficial for you personally and who knows, maybe professionally. It might be a stretch but I’ve heard of stories of people getting interviewed by the person they helped on the train and the rest is history. You’ll never know but ask yourself, does the possibility exist?

If it does, then it’s your gain, if it doesn’t, it will still not be your loss.

Bottom line

Personal branding is undeniably a hassle and it is not something that we love to do for a long time as there is no tangible and immediate result that we can see. Nothing worth gaining is easy and you should always remember this. It is a continuous process and you will be doing it throughout your career, to an extent it has become you. So, when you are thinking about your very own personal branding, think hard. You’ll find yourself in a journey to discover your true self.

Good luck.