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From teaching in Tokyo to working in broadcasting in New York to a public relations internship in Seattle, my professional experience has largely been a result of good, old-fashioned networking. But probably not the kind of networking you’re thinking about. While professional connections are important, I’ve found that leveraging my personal network has been surprisingly more effective – and that’s come from building my personal brand.   

Earlier this year, I relocated to Seattle and started searching for the next step in my career. A friend connected me with someone she knew, which eventually led to my intern position in the Social Impact Practice here at Weber Shandwick. Sheer luck? Not entirely. I had taken deliberate steps to “brand” myself as a reliable storyteller with a passion for global issues and a desire to continue exploring engaged communications – and that brand fit well with what the team here was looking for. So here I am.

Everyone has a reputation – both in person and online. Branding is simply taking it a step further. It’s being thoughtful in how you present yourself in every forum. Staying cognizant of your personal brand and harnessing it can further both your personal and professional life. 

Here are some steps to boost your personal brand: 

  • Be authentic: While your brand should reflect your aspirations, you must be able to back everything up with sincere interest and experiences.
  • Tell a story: Build a narrative around your personal experiences. This will help you be memorable and make your brand more effective.
  • Stick to it: Ask yourself if an action or choice falls within your brand. If your brand is authentic and includes aspirational qualities, you should be comfortable with your answer.
  • Let it evolve: As you grow, change your brand to reflect who you are and who you want to be.

 

Building your reputation is dependent on the perception of others over time, while branding allows you to immediately present yourself in a way that you would like to be seen. So, which will you choose?

Image courtesy of Gonzalo Díaz Fornaro.

Erica Jordan earned a degree in biology and worked in the pharmaceutical industry before getting addicted to travel and storytelling. She is currently exploring communications and engagement as a Social Impact intern at Weber Shandwick Seattle. You can read about her adventures on Kizzling Around Travel Blog or connect with her on twitter @KizzlingAround.

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