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Take a minute to think about your favorite brands, whether that means handbags or canned soup. (Trust us, we have a point we're trying to make.) What words or phrases spring to mind? "Sturdy" and "stylish"? "Very affordable" or "consistently awesome"? Those positive associations are what endear you, the consumer, to a particular brand.
As you already know, branding isn't just for companies anymore, and whether you know it or not, you have a professional brand. And when people see or hear your name, they'll make associations of their own. Your brand needs to be crafted with care and properly promoted, especially if you want new and better career opportunities.
Monster asked seven career coaches for advice on how to boost your personal brand to its top-shelf potential. Here is what they had to say:
Find Your Voice as an Expert
"Seeking out speaking engagements builds your professional brand by getting your message out to large groups. Take an active role as a guest speaker or host at professional networking events, volunteer as a keynote speaker, and speak at industry conferences and community events." — Tom Powner, certified career coach at Career Thinker, New York City
Tap Your Inner Scribe
"Share your knowledge while building your brand. As a professional, you have more experiences worth sharing than you may realize, and in today's 24/7, 365 global world, someone somewhere will want to hear it. Writing online articles and blog posts is a fast, easy, and powerful way to build your online presence and your brand, not just in your local community but across the world." — Brenda Bence, executive coach and president of Brand Development Associates International, Las Vegas and Singapore
Aim For "Likes" and Shares
"Social media visibility is the one way that previously unknown candidates can immediately establish and enhance their brands. Be sure you are networking within your industry by staying active in social media groups and professional networking sites." — Janice Worthington, executive career coach at Worthington Career Services, Columbus, OH
Tell Your Story
"Create a bio that tells a compelling and emotionally resonant story, one that feels immediately connective when your target audience reads it. Add a value component, such as a list of your most valuable skills, to that — brands obviously have to project value — and you've got an online connection that speaks to the right people and pushes your brand forward. It's vastly differentiating because the majority of people won't do it." — Deb Dib, executive brand coach at Executive Power Brand, Medford, NY
Stay on Top of Trends
"Keep abreast of the latest articles and posts in your field, so you can equip yourself with real-time knowledge of new trends, buzzwords, and ideas as they emerge. If you want decision-makers and hiring officials to identify you as a top-tier, preferred candidate for a competitive position, you will want to constantly upgrade your knowledge via approved, respected continuing-education classes, seminars, conferences, and certifications. This knowledge will help to position you as a thought leader within an expanding sphere of referral partners, helpful colleagues, potential clients, and the media." — Grant Cooper, founder and president of Strategic Resumes, New Orleans
Serve Your Community
"Look for local associations and organizations where you might find people in your industry. In a large metro area, there are likely local chapters of national organizations; in more rural communities, connect with people through the local chamber of commerce." — Hank Boyer, executive coach, president and CEO of Boyer Management Group, Holland, PA
Embrace What Makes You Unique
"In pursuit of a personal brand, most often it's the contrived cleverness that gets people into trouble because it's perceived as fake. Most of your little quirks make you likable, and the ones that don't can be managed. Just be yourself." — Walter Akana, personal brand strategist at Threshold Consulting, Decatur, GA
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