The short answer… yes! Creating a professional image and a personal brand is something that will stick with you throughout your whole life, so why not establish your greatness now!?
When we think of branding and image, it is typical to think of corporations and businesses, not ourselves! However, scoring your first interview, internship, or job relies heavily on your professional image and what brand you are bringing to the table. Here are 4 themes to keep in mind:
Differentiation– What makes you stand out from the rest? What will motivate a company to hire you over the next candidate? What are your strengths and how do you express them? Being different is good! Having different experiences that align with your goals and values strengthen your brand over those who do the same thing as the next candidate.
Clarity– Be clear in how you dress, act, and speak; all of which should align with your who you are and your values. Expressing clarity through your actions helps establish a sense of trust among co-workers, employers, and other pieces to your professional life. Being clear in your branding will help people know what to expect from you. Think of Barney from How I Met Your Mother. He is very clear in his personal image- you never see him without a suit on!
Authenticity– Being authentic also helps establish trust among the people you surround yourself with. Think about times when it is difficult to be authentic in your image and brand. Why is this so? What is causing an inauthentic presentation of yourself to come forward? Not being your true self and not having your behavior reflect your values, beliefs, and goals can create a contradicting image to your true self and your brand. If you are not your authentic self, the other pieces will not fall into place!
Consistency– The other themes do not matter if you are not consistent across the board with who you are and what your brand/ image is! This way, people will know what they can expect from you and your work ethic. Think about a brand like Apple. They have been consistent with their innovation, consistent in their branding for their products, and consistent in their messaging about their services. When purchasing an Apple product, you know exactly what you will get. When you are consistent with your message, your professional image and personal brand are at their peak!
These themes can shine through your resume, LinkedIn profile, networking skills, your professional dress, and how well you interview. There is not one piece of your professional life that won’t be affected by maintaining a strong brand and professional image. Also, don’t forget the impact social media can have on your professional image! Remember the time when Amanda Bynes’ professional image was tarnished all through social media? If you wouldn’t want grandma to see it, don’t post it! Make an appointment with the Career Center today to begin to establish your brand and professional image!
Stay different, clear, authentic, and consistent, Pioneers!