Personal branding…it sounds like something that the PR professionals of celebrities and politicians have to deal with. I have to admit when I first heard about the concept myself, I didn’t really see it as a concept even vaguely applicable to me. Well, this was until I delved a bit deeper with the help of Marie’s free resource titled, “Unlock Your Potential with the Power of Personal branding”. I quickly realised: this is a concept I can’t miss.

Personal branding is not to be confused with self-promotion. Marie clarifies this very early on: “In a nutshell, personal branding is about sharing who you are: your values, motivations, passion, mindset and beliefs. It’s also about identifying your talents, skills and qualities”.  Personal branding means having a crystal-clear understanding of who you are as a person, what your skills are and how you can best represent yourself as your true, authentic self to the outside world

The section that stood out most to me is where Marie speaks about how our relationship with our employer has changed over time. Today’s workplace not only calls for a different set of skills than decades ago, but it has also made room for personal, authentic expression. In short, personal branding is now more relevant than ever.

What Marie defines as the personal branding mindset in the workplace, reminds me to approach work and the workplace in the following two crucial ways:

With a sense of adventure:  highlighting the need to be flexible and adaptable whilst cultivating a love for life-long learning. This mindset opens up the possibility of leaving the workplace to start your own business (or even returning to the workplace), without making it seem like giving something up. Instead, it is seen as a step to take following the ongoing reflection and introspection of what you need and what the market is looking for.

With the aim of making myself visible whilst being my authentic self. Focusing on exhibiting not only the skills that make me right for the job but also the skills that I enjoy using.

Fortunately, I read Marie’s piece just as I, a creative at heart, was about to start a new position at a financial institution in a job that didn’t list “creativity” as one of the requirements.  I was therefore set on applying the concept of using the skills that I enjoy and not only those that are deemed right for the job.

When we enter the office, we don’t leave part of our personality or our skills at home. Therefore, we should not think of only the skills and qualifications we list on our CV as being of relevance in the workplace. I set out determined to also let my ‘personal’ skills and interest shine through at work.

From the get-go, I worked into conversations that I don’t mind helping anyone out by proofreading an important document or writing a policy. I explained how editing can even be relaxing at times. Almost immediately team members started reaching out to me to proofread documents or provide some creative input on projects they were working on.

In this way, I used a unique skill with the following results:

• It instantly made me more visible in the team.
• It helped me build relationships quicker.
• I got up to speed on a variety of topics which helped me to work independently sooner; and
• I got involved in certain projects that would not normally be open to the newcomer.

Of course, it is easy to speak about applying your own unique skills in this way and building out your personal brand. However, if you are not quite sure yet what your skills are, this may feel like an insurmountable obstacle. Sometimes a little external perspective is all you need to recognise what your unique points are and how to start building your personal brand – this is something that Marie helped me with and might just be able to do the same for you.

by Margot Van Den Bergh