This guest post was written by Holly Whitman.
Life is hectic, even for those who take the daily storms as though they are continually sunny with a high of 75. Schedules bloom until they’re overgrown with to-do lists and appointments that a queen could compete with. How can anyone work on building a brand for themselves among all of the chaos?
First off, what exactly does it mean to have a personal brand? A personal brand is how you personally market yourself to friends, co-workers, prospective employers, etc. It’s your resume, your characteristics and skills, your hireability. Building your brand is what comes from years of experiences, trials and errors, defining moments that you either love to remember or love to forget.
Your personal brand can go as far as you want it as quickly as you set the deadlines. Although a personal brand may seem to only define your workstyle and skills while on the job, it actually can help you move forward as an individual in all aspects of your life. Your personal brand is – after all – personal, so why should your 9-5 be the only thing influencing it?
Here are four ways you can propel your personal brand forward – off the timeclock:
1. Invest in Continuing Education
Information, technology and most other areas of life are rapidly changing. As such, the knowledge you had three years ago isn’t necessarily going to be the knowledge you need today. Invest in continuing education either by enrolling in workshops, going to seminars or taking an online course. This can help you keep up to date in trends and areas you are interested in and working within.
2. Make the Most of Your Commute
Your schedule’s pretty jam-packed, so how can you fit in one more task? That’s easy: your morning commute. An astounding 78 percent of 128 million commuters drive in the car alone on a daily basis. If this is you, consider your stars to have aligned.
Make the most of your drive time by listening to audiobooks or podcasts. You can focus on additional industry learning, broach a new subject that ties into your goals for yourself, and/or learn a new language, all of which will be useful in securing that next job.
Volunteering is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to add experience to your resume and a notch in your personal brand belt. Choose a cause that means something to you. If you aren’t sure how to choose, evaluate your personal and work goals. If you are looking to develop your writing and public relations skills, talk to a local nonprofit about doing some pro bono work for them.
4. Be Visible Online and In Person
It’s time to fully engage with your community. This means you should have a presence, both online and in person. Network with friends, colleagues and acquaintances via social networks like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Accept invitations to mixers and social events that will put you in the eye of people who can help build your brand. If you strongly identify with your alma mater, be seen at their events. Personal, face-to-face connections are always stronger than those online, but doing both will go far.
Personal branding is a powerful self-marketing tool that can gain you experience and a winning reputation in your community. Take the time amid your already full schedule to pencil in some of these activities to boost your visibility and build a powerful personal brand.
About the Author
Holly Whitman is a freelance writer and journalist, originally from the UK but now based in Washington DC. You can find her on Twitter at @hollykwhitman and more of her writing on her blog, Only Slightly Biased.
Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.