A popular buzzword that's been circulating around the Internet is branding. When I was growing up, the word "brand" or "name brand" was often mentioned in reference to whoever the leading company that produced the most quality products known to the general public was (i.e. Gatorade, Nike, Jordan, etc). Now, that's not the truth about what a brand is, but it does speak volumes to the thought process of those who spend their time, energy and money on what is most popular or familiar to them. After all, consumers make buying decisions primarily based on the reputation of the brand.
This fact is also true of your personal brand. When you're applying for a new job, the interviewer will be focusing on what your reputation is/was in the past (i.e. Your work history, education, references, etc.). Essentially, the employer is interested in learning more about who you are, what you represent and who can vouch for you. This process has been standard practice for ages; the only key difference now is the focus now has been shifted more towards who you are as a person, than what you can do as an employee.
For some, the past can be dark and unsavory, but the fact is, it's the undeniable truth that gives people an inside look of your character. Trying to erase your past works counter-productively with what it means to build your brand. It's like a cow that's run away from its herd. The branding has already been done and it will inevitably trace back to its roots. Better to embrace your past and use it to help mold your future. In other words, take everything you know from your past, educate yourself in the present, then decide how you want to use it to impact the lives of others in the future.
Whether you have $1M or $1.00 in your bank account, you have a personal brand, and it has great value. The key now is to determine what you want your brand to be known as and remembered for. Establishing your brand credibility is simpler than you think; it starts on a very basic level (i.e. The way you walk, talk, and carry yourself online and offline). You can use social media to build your brand credibility, but you also have to live a life outside of the Internet that matches your online brand.
Building a personal brand has many benefits and is not limited to professional success. It also establishes trust among your family members, friends, and colleagues and loved ones. Being a trustworthy and reliable source is an added value asset that individuals, companies and brands want to be associated with. The best way to start building your brand is by asking yourself who you are, and who you want to be to the world. Once you can answer that question for yourself, you'll be well on your way to attracted people and opportunities that yield positive results.
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