Jessica Miller-Merrell | , ,| By
Today (Wednesday), I’m giving a “Social Share” presentation with Dave Ryan at 7:45 AM EST on Establishing a Personal Brand. Come join us on your way to the closing keynote. It’s just to the right of the escalator before entering the keynote room.
One thing is for certain, and it’s that building your personal brand is a long game. It takes time. It’s also, in my opinion, a professional necessity. In the age of the internet, the opportunity and ability to really establish yourself as a professional to watch in human resources and recruiting exists, whether you are looking for global branding or building a presence in the local community.
#1 – Have a Goal
In order to build a personal brand, one must have a plan or as Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” Your goal is unique to you and really depends on what your personal or professional aspirations are. Your goals will change and that is absolutely okay. My goal in 2008 was to become a famous HR blogger. In 2016, my goal is to speak at TEDx.
#2 – Survey the Landscape
Like any strategy, it pays to plan. Google yourself to understand what words, phrases and topics your personal brand is currently associated with. Survey the landscape to understand what others in the industry are talking about, what they are saying and where you can possibly put your unique stamp on the space.
#3 – Identify Your Expertise
I believe every person has unique skills, gifts or traits. Sometimes it’s hard to self-identify these which is why it helps to talk to friends, family, peers and mentors you trust. Ask them what you do well. Accept their compliment and make a list of 7-10 things you think you can contribute to the conversation meaningfully. You don’t have to be an expert to have expertise. You don’t have to be the best at interviewing, leadership or candidate experience to generate meaningful conversations or help others move forward with a topic of conversation.
#4 – Just Do It!
With many things, including building a personal brand, fear is what holds us back. If you have an interest in creating a personal brand, put yourself out there. Just do it. It doesn’t matter if you fail. What matters is learning, growing, evolving and moving others to do the same.
I believe that being safe is boring and in order to achieve your dreams, make a difference or grow as a human being, you have to put yourself out there. Hopefully, you’ve done the work, researched and prepared. You don’t have to put yourself out there 100% buck naked to the world. Take small purposeful steps to build your brand, make a difference, differentiate yourself and ultimately achieve your established goals (see step #1).
Doing this can mean different things depending on your comfort level. It could be blogging, tweeting, talking, volunteering, webinaring, mentoring or speaking. You can do some or all of them. It’s totally up to you. You have researched the market and have set a goal. How you get there is completely up to you.
#5 – Network, network, network
Building relationships and giving back is essential in establishing a personal brand, especially in HR. This means attending conferences, meeting with friends for coffee and giving back to people who’ve helped you. You don’t have to go farther than your city or state to begin to build a network and make connections. But go beyond HR and build relationships and network in other communities like CEO’s, marketing professionals and business owners. I like building relationships and networking in these communities because in many cases I have no competition. I am by default number one because I am the only human resource professional at a networking event. Doing this opens me up to new opportunities and relationships because I’m in places others are not.
Most importantly, in order to build a personal brand in human resources, recruiting or any other industry, you have to be true to yourself. Don’t try to be someone else. Your path, your goals and your career journey is unique to you. Establishing a personal brand has changed my life in many ways. It’s helped me professionally in finding new work, helped me find mentors and build lifelong friendships in this HR industry that I love. Above all, the choice to build a personal brand is yours. I can’t make you do it, but I can tell you that it will stretch you in ways you couldn’t imagine. Don’t we all need to push ourselves a little bit harder? Especially if we want to further the industry and establish its own brand as being the most important department in our business, one that drives transformational change.