If you don’t think you have a brand, you’re severely mistaken. It doesn’t matter if you’re Barack Obama, Barry O’Connor or Bianca McDonald. You have a brand that’s talked about, judged, tested, measured and documented every day. Stay-at-home parent? Doesn’t matter… your kids and significant other experience you. The bottom line is that you must recognize your brand’s existence, care about it and cultivate it. Remember… Your personal life and professional life are married. There’s only one life so your personal brand must be optimized so that it helps all its areas.
Showing up isn’t enough when your personal brand is at stake. You must show up and show out. Have an in-person meeting or job interview? Show out. Have an over-the-phone meeting or job interview? Show out. Have a meeting over Skype or Google+ Hangout? SHOW OUT! Your brand will be packed up, delivered, digitized and presented as pretty little pixels and 16-bit audio on the other end. It matters.
It’s easier to have a strong personal brand when you have genuinely positive energy at your core. This can take work. Personally, I have a temper that I’ve been working on for several years. It’s a daily exercise. You can’t make excuses though… We must deal with and power through “bad” days, rough mornings and life baggage. Our brands and reputations are at stake after all. We are all works in progress. Welcome the opportunity to test your resilience by blasting through your various issues to put your brand in successful positions. Below are 13 personal branding tips that we all need to remember as we go about our day:
1. Put being trustworthy at the top of your list.
2. You are more than your degree, SAT or GPA. Education is important. But what matters most is the application and presentation of your knowledge. And honestly, there’s a lot that school won’t teach you. Bring more than credentials to the table.
3. Hone your listening skills. It will do wonders for your brand.
4. Shyness is an opportunity killer. Cut it out.
5. People want to know, hire, work with, listen to, talk to, be married to, love, be loved by, high five and network with rockstars. If you don’t think you’re a rockstar, fake it.
6. Making first AND last impressions is no myth. It matters. Remember to show out at all times (especially before, during and after rough moments).
7. Clothing: I don’t wear suits. I’m a sports coat + jeans type guy. Maybe a suit is necessary for your profession. Maybe not. Know the code for your environment by all means, but push the envelope more and more over time so that you make your own mark. I’d rather stand out than blend in (when I can get away with it). Only push your fashion to your preferred level of comfort. At the end of the day, be yourself and not the latest trend.
8. Be an entrepreneur. Even if you work for someone else, be entrepreneurial!
9. Be openly loyal to your family’s needs. You want to be around people who respect this quality. We are judged heavily by our relationship with our family.
10. Get in shape. Easier said than done. ::notices that he’s a little soft in the middle right now… prepares to makes some YMCA visits::
11. Your personal brand comes along as you navigate and engage on social networks. Be sure to represent yourself in a manner that’s congruent to your brand.
12. Bad breath can be a deal breaker. Altoids might be your best friend. Another point on this… If you’re a real friend, you will slide your buddy an Altoid or Tic Tac when their breath game is on tart.
13. Be magnetic.