I’ve been both an employee and an entrepreneur. When I started my career as an employee, I didn’t think much about personal branding. In fact, that wasn’t even a buzzword at the time. But today? Personal branding isn’t just important if you’re a business-owner – it’s important if you’re an employee as well.
Here are 5 reasons why personal branding is important – even when you don’t own a business.
5 Reasons Why Personal Branding is Important – Even When You Don’t Own a Business
Reason #1: Networking
Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or you’re a seasoned executive, your network is important.
A strong network can help you create new opportunities for yourself – both inside your current company and outside as you advance in your career. But it’s not just about business – a strong network can also bring new friends into your life.
So where does personal branding fit in?
When you have a strong personal brand, expanding your network is easier. When you reach out to build your network online through a platform like LinkedIn, you’re more likely to receive a positive response. Your personal brand is “speaking for you” before you get a chance to speak for yourself (which is easy to do after the initial contact is made).
Having a strong personal brand also helps as a conversation starter when you attend networking events. Rather than just being one of the many forgotten dry conversations that we all have at events, a personal brand is remembered. Who are you more likely to remember? The VP of sales, or the VP of sales that has a YouTube channel that taste-tests their favorite beer and pizza pairings?
Reason #2: Climbing the Corporate Ladder
You aren’t just Googled by HR when you’re interviewing – more and more often, companies are expecting their employees to have a strong online personal brand.
If you’re a data scientist, part of your personal brand might be your blog that includes your musings about how you can use data to predict the next breakout jazz musician.
If you’re a nurse, your Instagram account filled with the rescue puppies you work hard to place is working to create your personal brand as a compassionate human being.
As your personal brand grows, you begin to get noticed by the people in your company that can (and will) promote you. (Note of caution, though, if you’re “living your online life out loud” in a way that doesn’t reflect maturity, responsibility and good common sense, it may hurt your chances for a promotion.)
Reason #3: Job Searching
As I mentioned in Reason #2, 70% HR professionals will Google your name and look through your public social media accounts when you apply for a job.
Having a strong personal brand online that will reflect favorably upon you will go a long way to make you a stand-out candidate.
That doesn’t mean that you should jump online and start blogging about anything, just to land your dream job. But if you’ve been thinking about writing anyway, but you haven’t gotten started yet, keep in mind that once you do start, it will help you build your personal brand.
Reason #4: Expanding Horizons
A few months ago, I was in a ScrumMaster training with a woman that uses agile principles to grow her garden every year. I was fascinated by her hobby.
Even though she wasn’t consciously branding herself, her ability to expand her horizons and take the skills she learned at work to apply them in unexpected ways in her personal life was incredible – and it got me to think about how I could expand my own thinking as well.
When you start to deliberately build your personal brand, you will begin to naturally expand your horizons. A chance meeting in a networking group could lead to a tai chi class to start your day. Or a comment on your blog could lead to your first speaking engagement.
Reason #5: Celebration
Whether you’ve been “hiding behind a desk” or you have 1 million followers on Instagram – everyone has a reason to celebrate their accomplishments.
So how does this fit into personal branding?
When you build your personal brand, you celebrate the things you’ve done, the words you’ve written, the thoughts and ideas you’ve put out into the world – it’s all part of the celebration of you doing you.
And when we tell the world what we’ve done – whether the world acknowledges it or not – our brains subconsciously take a step back and look at what we’ve done and think, “Hey, that’s pretty cool, we’re all right!”. Then more often our brains are positively triggered, the happier we are, the more energy we have to pursue our dreams, and the better the impact we make on others.
So in conclusion, is personal branding important, even if you don’t own a business?