Remember the first time that you heard a recording of your own voice? It sounds odd – like your voice how you’re used to hearing it, but then put in a blender with an array of other tones. People usually wonder, “Is this what I really sound like?”
Just like how you can sound differently than what you might think, you can be perceived differently too, which is why it’s important to pay attention to your personal brand.
On Wednesday, GovLoop hosted “Developing YOU – How to Increase Your Personal Brand,” an online training for its ambassadors that explored what personal brand is and how to use it to your advantage. Leah Anderson, Digital Marketing Manager at GovLoop, said that a personal brand is far more than hobbies and personality.
A personal brand is the outward reputation that someone is known for, and it drives the perceptions, opinions and judgments of others. The problem is most brands are unintentional, as opposed to conceived and acted upon by individuals.
“Personal branding is not in your job description, so that’s kind of where it can slip to the back burner,” Anderson said.
While job descriptions may not include details about personal branding, it’s as important as any pen-and-paper task. Soft skills can be deciding factors in bonuses and promotions, and a greater personal brand can help guide a career’s course.
Anderson identified four primary ways to identify, own and improve a personal brand.
First, people should identify whether they are on the proactive or reactive side and scale their brand accordingly. Finding a balance between adaptability and structure is key in any work environment.
Second, employees should look at how to add value, both as individual contributors and by participating in teams. Slumped shoulders and reticence can reflect disillusionment and disinterest, even if in reality, somebody is just quiet with bad posture.
“What you need to do is think about is what your mode of communication is that you feel comfortable with,” Anderson said. “It’s not just meetings. It can be emails or your communication thread.”
Third, people want to work with your best self – not your worst. Aside from the basics of dress code, manners and timeliness, employees should focus on bringing positive energy that is apparent.
While a bad breakup might be weighing on your mind, it shouldn’t be weighing on your paycheck. A positive-minded workplace can foster better collaboration and focus.
“We all have our good days and bad days, but again, it’s all about putting that energy in there,” Anderson said.
Finally, Anderson said a carpe diem – Latin for “seize the day” – mindset gave employees the tools to truly control their personal brand. By using performance reviews to improve on feedback and seeing every day as an opportunity, people can take control of their personal brand – as opposed to passively accepting their role.
Of course, personal brand ownership isn’t a one-time purchase, Anderson said. It takes everyday investment and devotion.
Considering the benefits – improvements in workplace happiness, community and career advancement – the choice is easy.