Who I am and who I want to be: Personal Branding 101
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You don’t know it yet, but you’ve already built yourself a personal brand by now. More often than we realize, this manufactured identity is what brings us closer or farther away from our career goals. A personal brand is how people market themselves. It’s a tool often used in career-building because it shapes our networks and how far these networks can take us into our careers. Simply put, personal branding is identifying what you want people to remember about you.

However, there is a misconception.Personal branding is not self-promotion. Skills and talents are well and good – in fact, they are the determinant factors of being a valuable employee – but appearances and impressions are just as important because they are the first steps to establishing rapport with your desired contact or company. It’s by creating an identity of someone reliable, dependable, competent and able to effectively respond to the demands of the industry that we get people to trust us. Personal branding involves the following: overall health and wellness, clothes, physical attractiveness and demeanor, digital identity, and area of knowledge.

Overall health and wellness is important because it speaks about how you value yourself.

If you display yourself as someone independent and perfectly responsible for your well-being, you send the message that you can effectively perform your duties and responsibilities without compromising your health or the quality of your work.

The most common way we brand ourselves is how we dress.

The clothes you wear directly affect the image you want to portray. You can regulate that image according to the situation and the message you want to send across. Dress professionally to get the look of a person-in-charge; go a little casual or colorful if you want to champion your creative side. All these things factor into how people will recognize you and how you can stand out from the lot.

Physical attractiveness and demeanor matter — but not in the way some people might think.

Remove the negative connotations; this is actually closer to how you’d value your health and wellness. Attractiveness or aesthetics determines the type of environment you want to build with your networks. By paying close attention to the “vibe” you project, you can control how your peers see you as well as how they act around you. But there are dangers to taking this lightly; sometimes looking too young may lead people to think you’re inexperienced, hence unreliable; looking a little to mean might make you the office’s grump. It’s all about balance, about cultivating their respect as well as their trust.

Living in the digital age, it follows that you should have a digital identity.

Your online presence is an extension of your physical self, therefore how and what you express online, as it is open to the public, say as much about you as in any other medium. Since it adds to your value, you must be mindful with what you choose to share especially since you can’t support or defend your statements from other people’s interpretations.

You can’t fake the area of your knowledge.

Now this is where it gets a little tricky. When dealing with people, you need to know what you’re saying and why you’re saying them so that others will believe you. Effective communication is about substance and delivery so it is important to be honest with the information we share and make sure that they are valuable enough to share.