Friday, April 15, 2011

How to Create, Market and Role Model a Powerful Personal Brand

By Sherri Thomas

Personal Branding is a hot topic these days, but do you really know what it means?

And do you know how to leverage your personal brand to get the career you really want?

Getting bigger promotions, better clients and a more meaningful career depends largely on how you’re perceived by senior managers, colleagues, peers, and potential clients or employers. To maximize your career opportunities and get into a career that actually inspires you to get out of bed in the morning, let’s start by strengthening your personal brand.

Step #1. Identify your value.

Having a powerful personal brand means that you consistently deliver what you say you’re going to deliver. In other words, it’s the skills, experience and value that you provide to your employer or clients. Whether it’s bringing in new streams of revenue, managing highly valued projects or developing creative marketing campaigns, your career is fueled by the value that you consistently deliver to employers.

Your value is a unique blend of your strengths, professional accomplishments and personal characteristics (such as being a good leader, risk taker, problem solver, strategic thinker, etc.). All of these combined make up your “value package,” which makes you truly unique from a crowd of colleagues, business associates and even job applicants.

Step #2. Send a powerful message.

Being in a passionless job is a career killer! If you’re walking around dull and listless (like the Clairol Herbal Essence girl before she shampoos her hair), others are sure to see you that way. It’s impossible to have a powerful personal brand if you’re just going through the motions at work. You need to be in a career that challenges you, flexes your professional muscles and excites you!

Everything you do and say sends messages to your manager, senior managers, clients, peers, and potential employers. Your words, actions, presentations, reports, work deliverables, and professional accomplishments shape the perceptions others have about you and the value you provide.

Think about how you want others to perceive you. Do you want to be recognized as being smart? Strategic? Having specific expertise? A great leader? Whatever it is, you should be striving to send that message loud and clear.

Every day you have opportunities to shape and manage your personal brand. In every presentation that you give, in every meeting you attend, in all your conversations with other professionals – think of yourself as being on a stage. It’s your opportunity to shape and manage the way others are perceiving you.

Step #3. Network strategically.

In my own personal career, I’ve been blessed to have had opportunities to reinvent myself into a variety of job roles (disc jockey, PR Director, video producer, technical program manager) and industries (TV, radio, professional sports, and high tech.) I’ve learned that if you want bigger promotions, better clients and a richer, more meaningful career, you need to work with people who value and appreciate you.

Focus your energy on creating a strong support system of what I call “career influencers.” These are people who can hire you, promote you, inspire you, teach you, and open doors to new opportunities. Nurture your relationships with these people, and ask about their career path and lessons learned for overcoming career challenges. Seek out people who can give you the blueprint, guidance and inspiration to help you advance your career.

Remember, great jobs don’t just land in your lap. You have to know what you want – take action – and go get it! Your new career is out there. You just need to go after it!

Sherri Thomas is founder of Career Coaching 360, an international speaker and author of "Career Smart: 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand" on Amazon’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. Career Coaching 360 provides career planning, management coaching and leadership development to help professionals change careers quickly and easily. Connect with Sherri at and on her website at, where you can also grab a free Career Analysis Package.

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