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

10 Required Student Skills at Harvard University


Skill number 10. Building a personal brand

I want to end this series by talking about the importance of building a personal brand. Personal brand, you think ?! Yes, yes, exactly ... And no matter how amazing 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 arise in different people when they hear your name. Why is a personal brand so important and why is it necessary to 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 everything is happening, our world is driven by emotions. If we talk about the labor market, then here too 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 “product” that competes with others due to its values, functionality and emotional appeal. And if you want you to be chosen among the many worthy ones, then it makes sense to adapt to the demand and expectations of the audience.

What emotions are embedded in your resume? Every detail creates an impression of you as a professional. Can you guess what reads between the lines in the mailbox titles “thebestgirlinthewholeworld” or “the_brightest_star” or from an inappropriate photo in the kitchen with half-breasts? How does a personal assessment of a foreign language at the “Advanced” level look like in a resume full of banal mistakes like inconsistency of times and others? When communicating on the phone for the first time, according to the tone of your words: your goodwill or lack thereof, an image about you is formed, which either disposes to communication or encourages to end the conversation immediately and forever. Not to mention personal contact. Your look and smile, speech and appearance, thoughts and demeanors, gestures and tact - all this together form a perfectly clear emotion about you. And no matter how gorgeous your resume may seem in terms of professional experience, the emotional center of your audience is sometimes stronger than their rational thinking.

Personal brand perception subjectivity

Even when we consciously form a positive image, our personality is perceived subjectively. Everyone, as they say, will not please you. Different people perceive information in different ways. 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, it is important that you clearly understand what kind of audience it is, what its expectations are, and design your brand in such a way that it is perceived as unambiguously as possible. It's like a story with Apple, which causes clear understandable emotions in almost its entire audience.

The multichannel and public availability of information about you

In the era of social networks, when your personal and professional information is practically in the public lifelong access, everything related to your name can somehow affect the sustainability of the development of your brand. 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 run. Imagine that what you are going to put on a social network cannot be deleted? Will you do it anyway? Would you like to be hired by a potential employer if you 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 any value. What is your value as an interlocutor, as a friend, as a professional, or simply as an individual? Can you articulate this clearly? In fact, understanding and the ability to articulate your value for a particular audience is an important aspect of fruitful and mutually beneficial communication. You must have been in a situation where the appointment was canceled, and you sighed with relief. Apparently, either the interlocutor did not represent value to you, or you had nothing to offer in return. Any communication is based on the principle of a tacit mutually beneficial contract.

Personal Brand Development History

In addition to brand value and understanding “why” I do this or that, it is important to be able to tell the story of brand development. The ability to tell a story about your life that connects separate stages into a coherent, coherent story, overcoming life difficulties, emphasizing your strengths and achievements, as well as the uniqueness of your personality, will set you apart from others. The ability to tell stories, or “storytelling”, is not only a powerful literary device, but also a marketing tool, since it takes into account the peculiarities of the formation of long-term memory. A coherent storyline and unexpected twists and turns, accompanied by emotion and metaphor, will allow you to perceive information on an emotional level that fuels 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 with a foundation, be sure to adapt your story so that it feels completely natural to your real audience. The good old ways of asking questions and listening to your conversation partner will allow you not only to win over your audience, but also to adapt your story.

The development of a personal brand is a constant conscious work not only on determining one's personal values, but also on one’s qualities as an interlocutor. This can be studied endlessly and improved throughout life. You can start with the answers to three simple questions that you can ask yourself or others:

  1. Why do people like to spend time with you?
  2. What value do you give people?
  3. The first thing people think about when they hear your name?

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


Author: Evgenia Efremova, graduate student at Harvard University 
and academic director of Global Ambassador


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