Owning Your Career Brand
Our career brand is one of the most important things we can create to achieve career success. According to Entreprenuer.com, employees at companies that invest in personal branding initiatives are 27 percent more likely to feel optimistic about their company’s future; 20 percent are more likely to stay at their company, and 40 percent are more likely to believe their company is more competitive. This is because when creating a career brand, we will attract others to us and always be top of mind when people are thinking about our industry. When we do this, opportunities will come to us, and we will have stability in our careers.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn, where she interviewed Product Manager at LinkedIn, Shyvee Shi.
They shared tips and personal stories about owning our career brand.
To own our career brand, we need to shift our mindset and break through any mental barriers we may have. Thinking about our career brand is thinking beyond what we have to do in our everyday roles. That is incredibly important; however, we need to think bigger.
Consider the following:
- Job vs. Career – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Shyvee said we need to consider the difference between our current job and the ideal career situation. She said, “Our current job is the chapter we are writing. Our career is the book we are writing for our lives.” One way to do this is to shift our mindset to think beyond our day-to-day responsibilities will help us build our career brand. For example, think about what we want to do more of with our time. Consider what our ideal work situation would be. When we focus on the bigger picture, we can create a career for ourselves.
- Imposter Syndrome – We have to overcome imposter syndrome every day. This is because we will face imposter syndrome whenever we try something new. To overcome imposter syndrome, we need to break free of the mental barriers telling us that we aren’t capable of doing what we want to do. For example, during the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Shyvee shared about a time she was about to post something she had never done before. Then the night before she posted, she was afraid of what people would think. She had a lot of thoughts about how she shouldn’t post it. However, she pushed through and posted what she wanted. And because she pushed through her mental barriers, her post was exceptionally well received.
- Start Small – The idea of starting something new can often stop us before we begin. However, if we want to create a career brand, we must shift our mindset. One way to do this is to start small. For example, we can ask ourselves, “What is the smallest step we can take to build momentum?” This could mean sharing one thing we’ve learned every week. Or it could be sharing someone else’s content. We don’t need to be an expert to start. The most important thing is to start and be consistent.
When we take steps to build our career brand, no matter how small they are, it can open opportunities for us outside our current job.
As we build our career brand, we want to be mindful of our messaging. How we deliver our message, where we will deliver our message, and what type of message it will be are all things we will want to think about before we begin.
Consider the following:
- Clear Communication – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica said, “A strong career brand needs strong communication. We need to be clear-minded in our messaging and delivery.” If we are unclear in our communication, our message will get lost. For example, suppose we are creating video content, and our vocabulary includes many filler words. In that case, people may skip our videos because it is too difficult to understand our point of view. Learning communications is one of the biggest things we can do to bolster our career and help us build our career brand.
- Platform/Medium – The platform and medium we choose will largely depend on the audience we are trying to connect with. For example, LinkedIn may be the best platform if the audience we want to connect with is other professionals. We will also want to consider the medium we feel most comfortable using. Do we prefer to be on video, or do we prefer to write a post? Our messaging will make the most impact when we share it on the platform our audience is using and in a way we feel most confident.
- Content – Owning our career brand means we will also want to create content so we can attract people and gain more visibility. However, there are many different ways we can share content. For example, we can share what we are learning. We can also share our current company’s blog post with a few sentences about what we think of the post. We can also share the process of our learning. The content we share should always represent the messaging we want our audience to hear.
We don’t have to have it all figured out to start posting content. We need to focus on our messaging and our audience.
People build strong career brands when they show what they think and offer solutions. To do this, people have to know what we are doing. We have to show up and do the work, but people must also know our work.
Consider the following:
- Local Networking – Owning our career brand doesn’t stop at social media posting. Local networking can help us build our career brand and boost our visibility. For example, showing up consistently to local networking groups such as the chamber of commerce, or business networks can help us build credibility. As we network and share who we are and what we do, we will stay top of mind when people think about our industry.
- Corporate Networks – Another way to build your career brand is to network with those we do not regularly interact with within our company. For example, if we work in IT, we can consider reaching out to someone in Marketing. Ask them to grab a cup of coffee or lunch. We will get the chance to interact with someone else, and share our story with them. Making more connections will boost our visibility.
- Consistency – People may know what we do, but we must be consistent when building our visibility. This means showing up at the local networking meetings regularly. It also means having coffee with more than one person outside our network. Consistency can also mean sharing on social media regularly. Showing up to a networking meeting once is great, but if we never go back, the connections we’ve made most likely won’t remember us. The same can be said for posting on social media. If we post once, it’s a good start, but consistency will keep us top of mind.
Being visible will help us build our career brand. The more consistent we are, the more people will remember what we do.
We have to think about building our brand as an investment. Every post we put out, and every connection we make is a little investment into our larger goal.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:
- Discover your communications style so you know where to start. Over 4,000 people have found theirs here.
- Attend our monthly communication workshop to build communications confidence (new topics: public speaking, advocating for yourself, building credibility, etc) here.
- Get your brand in front of 43k+ people by sponsoring our newsletter or Soulcast Media | LIVE LinkedIn events [contact: email@example.com]