Wheeler del Torro is a nutritional anthropologist and author. His most recent book, The Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding, provides a guide to creating a powerful personal brand. When he is not researching, lecturing, or hosting popups, Wheeler is out setting the next culinary trend.
As consumers, we are continually presented with choices. For every item that we need, be it TV or toothpaste, there are at least five different brands from which to choose. Our selection process might be based on loyalty or popularity, price or an entertaining commercial. Those who seek to hire a new employee or consultant find similar ways of selecting from a wide range of candidates. Fortunately, with some reflection and strategic effort, any job candidate can harness the power of personal branding to gain an edge in the marketplace.
“Personal branding” has become a buzz phrase employed by a wide range of professionals, but what is it, exactly? In its essence, personal branding is the consistent marketing of your strengths and abilities across all platforms of communication, from social media to one’s wardrobe. It identifies your strengths as well as the needs of your target audience- be it a future employer or client- and renders the former as recognizable and appealing to those in need of your services.
A strong personal brand results in immeasurable gains because it immediately enables a professional to stand out from his or her competitors. Potential employers and clients would much rather associate with professionals who have reflected upon and clearly understand their worth, taking the time to package it in an understandable way. Before being hired or invited to impact someone’s life, business professionals will conduct background checks, analyzing personal information on the web and in other public forums. Personal branding allows these search results to showcase your personality and skills clearly and succinctly. If carefully constructed, your personal brand is the image that precedes you before you walk through the door, paving the way for a successful interview or business meeting. Here are 4 tips will help you to get there:
- Assess Your Skills. A strong personal brand requires a firm understanding of your strengths as a candidate. If you are unsure, take some time to reflect. There are certain skills that every employer looks for, such as communication skills and project management. In addition to these skills are the skills you have gained in your major. To identify your most prominent, reflect on the classes you enjoyed the most, or the ones you performed the best in. Don’t miss the opportunity to ask your professors for their opinion.
- Gain Experience. First, seek internships or small projects to gain experience and skills in the jobs you’re interested in filling when you graduate. You can pull on these experiences when interviewing for a job. There are also certain experiences that can give you a competitive edge. Those include public speaking and supervisory experience. If you don’t have these experiences yet, don’t worry. Now is the perfect time to seek out opportunities to gain them.
- Create the Branding 3-Pack. This includes your position statement, bio, and mantra. A powerful position statement will share your values and mission. It is what future employers can connect with. Your bio provides not only where your career has been but where it is going. It also shared your commitment to professional development. Your mantra is the passion-driven battle cry for your work. It is what motivates you to do your work and others to choose you. This 3-pack looks as good written as it sounds spoken, and should be sprinkled across your networking tools.
- Network, Network, Network. This includes online and in person. If you don’t have professional social media accounts such as LinkedIn and Twitter set up yet, now is the time to do so. There is also a lot of networking to be done face-to-face. Set up informational interviews. Attend networking events. And no matter where you go, take time to carefully plan your networking outfit.
Join experts Chef Wheeler del Torro and Liz DiLuzio on June 22, 5:30-6:30PM for What Am I Qualified For?: Self-Assessment and Self-Marketing. The focus will be on identifying your skills and strengths, including strategies for marketing yourself to employers. Attendees will learn the basics of personal branding and how to successfully utilize these in social media, job applications, and interviews. To learn more, click here.