Keep reading to explore the importance of personal branding and the impact it has on your career. Thanks to our friends at Domain.ME for writing & sponsoring this article!
Today, we’re going to talk about your personal branding and why it’s critical for your career success. But before we get into that, let me share a quick lesson in branding I’ve learned from Ridley Scott’s epic historical drama. Yes, you read that right.
If you remember the movie Gladiator (I sincerely hope you watched it) you know that it’s ultimately a battle between good and evil. The hero, a betrayed General, now a slave/gladiator is Maximus Decimus. He’s famous for leading armies and conquering nations, and his fearsome reputation (personal brand) precedes him.
So when a new evil emperor tries to silence him, he can’t merely kill him as his legend will continue. Instead, he has to humiliate him and—pay close attention to this—shatter his personal brand. As Proximo then memorably says, “You have a great name. He must kill your name before he kills you.”
And that right there demonstrates the power of a personal brand.
So, why exactly is personal branding important?
As you probably know already, having a brand isn’t something reserved for big enterprises and companies. The truth is, everyone has a brand—even if they’re not aware of it. Your brand is essentially your reputation, or the perception that other people have of you, or your company.
Having a strong personal brand is beneficial on many levels. At its core, personal branding differentiates the designer, developer, marketer, from the rest of the pack within crowded disciplines. It functions as a self-promotion agent that works for the practitioner 24/7/365. Ultimately, personal branding ensures that you become a magnet for new and interesting work opportunities.
Your personal brand & your career go hand-in-hand
Think about the first job interview you had. You probably spent a lot of time crafting the perfect resume and searching for the perfect outfit. You researched the company you’re applying to and rehearsed your answers to commonly-asked interview questions.
As young adults, we’re taught that these are the steps we need to take to land a job.
But at the end of the day, your personal brand is what lands you the job. And while those things certainly play a factor in how your future employer perceives you, it’s the way you present yourself in that interview that ultimately makes the difference between you getting hired or not.
It’s how you carry yourself, how accurately you display your level of expertise, and nowadays, it’s what you post online.
Use your personal brand as an icebreaker
When you showcase your strengths and values through your online and offline presence, others are able to get to know you better. They can find common ground, or discover interesting aspects of your life and work that they want to talk to you about. This is how a relationship is formed without you even really talking to people.
Your reputation precedes you and that’s exactly why personal branding should be important to you. You get to create and manage your reputation by positioning yourself on social media and networking with other people who are talking about you.
Let’s imagine for a second that you want to create a new website and are looking for a good web designer. What are you going to do? You ask friends, acquaintances, and family members if they can recommend someone. They all recommend different people. So what do you do then?
Most likely, you’ll Google their first and last name to find some more information. You combine this information with the recommendation you got of that person and decide to do business or not. It’s a fact, (online) branding provides you with customers!
🥧 Pieces of your professional PIE
The foundation of a personal brand is initially created by consistently doing good work. Unfortunately, working hard or having great ideas is rarely enough these days.
No matter what you do or what your goal is, the key is to be in control of your P.I.E.:
All three pieces of your professional P.I.E. need to work in your favor if you want your personal brand to succeed.
Performance is fundamental, of course. It means you need to deliver quality results in your day-to-day work.
Image is about what other people think of you—your (very important) personal brand. Do you maintain a positive attitude? Do you lead with solutions or focus on roadblocks when others suggest changes or alternatives?
And the final piece, Exposure, is about making sure that people know who you are and what you stand for. Does your boss know what you do? Does their boss know you and what you do? Do others inside and outside your organization know anything about you?
Improve your personal brand by choosing a unique domain name
To improve your personal brand you must improve your online presence. That means you need to clean up your social media accounts and, yes, create a personal website or a portfolio.
Now, setting up your own website allows you to showcase your work and provide proof of your abilities. This is a must if you’re in a creative field like writing, designing, art, music, etc. While you can list out your skills on your resume, having a portfolio lets people see exactly what you did.
Choosing a domain name for your website is therefore an important decision you’ll have to make. Remember, potential clients and employers will do their research. Having a personalized domain that links to your design portfolio will enable you to own the results that come up when anyone searches your name.
My advice is to use .ME, since it is highly personalized and can make you, your domain name, and your personal brand different and unique.
The bottom line
There is no limit to personal branding. It can go beyond the digital world. As your reputation builds, you’ll get more exposure, leading to a positive influence and great referrals.
The truth is, there are always going to be other people who create the same type of work as you, but your personal brand is what’s going to set you apart and make you exclusive.
Building a personal brand takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. So, become an expert at what you do and work non-stop on building a reputation for the things you want to be known for.
But please, don’t be self-centered. We often get so wrapped up in advancing our careers that we forget one of the best ways to advance is to focus on helping others, too! ■
About the Author: Biljana Martinić is a dedicated Content Creator/Writer at Domain.ME, the international tech company that operates the internet domain “.ME.” Her articles focus on balancing information with SEO needs—but never at the expense of providing an entertaining read. With a music playlist for every silly occasion, she considers herself as some kind of a song sommelier. The last dog she’s seen is always the best dog she’s ever seen.