Building a personal brand for career and education abroad
Building a personal brand for career and education abroad
skill 10 1

10 Must-Have Skills for a Harvard University Student


Habit number 10. Building a personal brand

I want to end this series with a talk about the importance of building a personal brand. Personal brand, you think?! Yes, yes, exactly ... And no matter how surprising it is, you already have it. You can omit this beautiful professional term for a second and it turns out that these are just those feelings and emotions, images and associations that different people have when they hear your name. Why is a personal brand so important, and why should you devote as much time to building it as to personal and career development?

Emotions are stronger than rational thinking

As much as we want to think and make decisions rationally and think that this is how things happen, our world is driven by emotions. If we talk about the labor market, then here you will be perceived on an emotional level. I don’t want to compare a person with a product, but in essence any person in the labor market is a “commodity” that competes with others due to its values, functionality and emotional attractiveness. And if you want to be chosen among the many deserving ones, then it makes sense to adapt to the demand and expectations of the audience.

What emotions are embedded in your resume? Every detail forms the impression of you as a professional. Guess what is read between the lines in the mailbox titles “thebestgirlinthewholeworld” or “the_brightest_star” or from an inappropriate photo in the kitchen with half-bare breasts? What does a personal assessment of a foreign language at the “Advanced” level look like in a summary full of banal errors like mismatch of tenses and others? When talking on the phone for the first time, according to the tone of your words: your benevolence or its absence, an image is formed about you that either encourages communication or encourages you to end the conversation immediately and forever. Not to mention personal contact. Your look and smile, speech and appearance, thoughts and mannerisms, gestures and tact - all this together forms a completely clear emotion in relation to you. And no matter how great your resume may seem in terms of professional experience, the emotional center of your audience is sometimes stronger than their rational thinking.

Subjective perception of a personal brand

Even when we consciously form a positive image, our personality is perceived subjectively. As the saying goes, you can't please everyone. Different people perceive information differently. Any new information and image is passed by other people through the prism of their personal previous experience, which subconsciously forms a positive or negative perception. Therefore, if your professional career depends on other people, then it is important that you clearly understand what kind of audience it is, what its expectations are, and develop your brand in such a way that it is perceived as unambiguously as possible. It's like the story of Apple, which evokes unambiguous, understandable emotions in almost all of its audience.

Multi-channel and public access to information about you

In the era of social media, where your personal and professional information is practically in the public domain for life, anything associated with your name can affect the sustainability of your brand in one way or another. Therefore, it is important to evaluate what information about you is available on social networks, and what image it forms about you in the long term. Imagine that what you are going to post on a social network cannot be deleted? Will you do it anyway? Will a potential employer want to hire you if they accidentally stumble upon such information on the Internet?

Personal brand value

The development of a strong sustainable brand is impossible if it does not carry some value. What is your value as an interlocutor, as a friend, as a professional or just as an individual? Can you articulate it clearly? In fact, understanding and being able to articulate your value to a specific audience is an important aspect of fruitful and mutually beneficial communication. You have probably found yourself in a situation where an appointment was canceled and you breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently, either the interlocutor was of no value to you, or you had nothing to offer in return. Any communication is based on the principle of an unspoken mutually beneficial contract.

History of personal brand development

In addition to the value of the brand and understanding “why” I do this or that, it is important to be able to tell the story of the development of the brand. The ability to tell a story about your life, which connects the individual stages into a coherent coherent story, overcoming life's difficulties, emphasizing your strengths and achievements, as well as the uniqueness of your personality, will set you apart from others. Storytelling, or "storytelling", is not only a powerful literary technique, but also a marketing tool, because it takes into account the peculiarities of the formation of long-term memory. A connected storyline and unexpected twists, accompanied by emotions and metaphors, will allow you to perceive information on an emotional level that feeds a person's long-term memory. Any story, its tone, syllable, style and actual content must correspond to the listener, his values ​​and expectations. So once you have the foundation, be sure to tailor your story so that it comes naturally to your real audience. The good old ways of asking questions and listening to your interlocutor will allow you to not only win over your audience, but also adapt your story.

The development of a personal brand is a constant conscious work not only on defining your personal values, but also on your qualities as an interlocutor. This can be learned endlessly and improved throughout life. You can start by answering three simple questions that you can ask yourself or others:

  1. Why do people like to spend time with you?
  2. What value are you giving people?
  3. What is the first thing people think of when they hear your name?

Finding answers to these questions will allow you to not only better understand yourself and increase self-esteem, while maintaining a share of self-criticism, but also become a more confident partner and interlocutor. I propose to reinforce these reflections by viewing "TED Talk The Golden Circleon the difference between true leaders and companies.


Author: Evgenia Efremova, Master's student at Harvard University 
and academic director Global Ambassador


 ← Read the article about 9 Habits To the video blog  

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