So what do we mean by Brand You? Think of any of your favourite big brands, or artists and what they put out there. Everything they do is a carefully managed collection of messages that paint a consistent and powerful image. And that image has been scrutinised and defined to make sure it’s relevant and motivating to the audience they wish to engage. If we’re talking brands, it’s called a brand’s positioning. And an awful lot of work goes into defining and redefining a brand’s positioning to make sure it stays relevant and engaging.
Now – for one moment – think of yourself as a brand. Who are you trying to speak to and what messages are you putting out there to engage them. Are they consistent? Do they reflect what you want to put out there? Are they a robust encapsulation of you? That’s what we mean by Brand You.
With a little bit of planning and prep, you can easily make sure everything adds up to what you want it to project. And here are the 6 Big Things we think essential when it comes to Brand You.
1. Who are you?
What is it that makes you, you? We’re talking everything from physical characteristics and heritage to your values and passions. All of these things add up to make you the person you are today, and once you have figured out who that is, you can make a start on refining your personal brand and make it true to yourself.
Side note: Values are the things that drive your life, and you refer to them while making decisions. Your passions are things that you like doing with your time. Some will overlap with your values. Have a think about what values and passions you have as these will serve as the foundations of your brand.
It’s good to be on top of this as it’s a popular one in interviews and on forms and profile like LinkedIn. We’re forever being asked to summarise what we’re about so it’s good to have something well defined and sharp at the ready.
2. What are you offering?
What you offer isn’t just your previous work experience, it’s also things like your skills, personality traits, life experience and passions.
- Hard skills are easy to measure or quantify and often learned on the job or through education or training (e.g. law, medicine or maybe web programme languages or design programmes).
- Soft skills are more subjective, e.g. patient, excellent communicator, strong leader.
This is another interview classic, ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?’ And saying you’re a perfectionist as a weakness just doesn’t cut it!
3. Why are you credible?
Credibility expands on your passions by grounding them in your experience.
- Your experience (as shown on CV);
- Certifications, training and learning results;
- Roles in organisations/teams/clubs
- Your wider community engagement, e.g. social action and volunteering
Increasingly, the 4th bullet point is becoming much more of a focus. Especially at the start of your career when you have little to no meaningful work experience. And as the term, Global Citizen becomes increasingly embraced. If you’re drawing a blank on this, try and do something about it. There are thousands of community organisation that need extra hands. Find the one that means something to you and get stuck in. If nothing else, it will give you a great point of distinction.
What does your online presence say about you?
It’s not just people in the limelight and social influencers who are vulnerable to scrutiny and criticism over their online image. These days anyone can put your name into a variety of websites/apps and find a wealth of information about you from your work history to what you were up to last Saturday night with your mates. What people see about you online can make a massive impact on how they view you as a person and whether they want to interact with you/your brand.
According to a Microsoft reputation study, while only 30% of job seekers worry about their online reputations, 70% of recruiters have rejected an applicant because of what they found online.
That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that you are controlling what people see about you online and thinking twice about what you put online!
For 6 big tips on clearing up your social media presence, head to our other blog post here.
Be resilient – this isn’t a popularity contest.
It’s important to remember that in life you are going to face setbacks and rejection but what’s important is that you recognise every knockback is a learning opportunity, however, if you don’t learn and seek feedback, then you might find yourself back in the same position further down the road.
Think about all the famous people you know and how many times they will have been rejected or found themselves doing things that they wouldn’t have thought was relevant at first but that eventually leads them to an opportunity more aligned with their passion. Do you think 20 years ago Rhianna planned on creating one of the most inclusive makeup brands in the world? Think again….
In a world of trend copying and influencers, now is the best time to be yourself. Because – guess what – no one else can do it as well as you can!
The best thing to do is not to pretend to be someone you’re not. And to celebrate all that’s special and individual about you.
One of our colleagues Jessica has written a blog here about the importance of self-confidence and self-belief. Do give it a read.
And there it is, the 6 BIG Things that we think make a difference to how you present Brand YOU and you come across to others. It’s by no means an exclusive list, but it’s a pretty good start. And if you’ve got other ones you think are important, please share them in the comments below.
Lifting the lid on Apprenticeships
Finding the right career path is tough. But one thing that makes it easier is knowing what all the different paths have to offer. And we think that not enough people are confident about what modern apprenticeships have to offer. Especially when you have companies like Google, Facebook and Universal all heavily investing in apprenticeship opportunities.
Apprentice Nation invites you to take a fresh look at Apprenticeships. Check out the Go Far section of our website and discover some helpful links to resources and companies that are there to support your apprenticeships journey.