Branding is all about your reputation – online and in real-life – the perception of you held by the external world.
Defining your brand is a process of identifying the personal attributes, values, drivers, strengths, and passions that differentiate your unique promise of value from your peers, helping those assessing you determine if you’re a good fit to hire or do business with.
William Arruda, branding pioneer and co-author of the classic Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand, clarifies:
“Your personal brand resides in the hearts and minds of those around you. In the new world of work, your reputation is the only accepted currency.”
If you don’t know how others perceive you, you’re neglecting a critical piece in defining your brand and value proposition.
When you think about your contributions and achievements that have benefitted employers, you begin to get an idea of what it is in you that translates to value.
But your own assessment is just one opinion, and doesn’t paint the whole picture.
You need to solicit and assess feedback from those who know you and your work best – peers, managers, staff, employees, clients, mentors, etc.
They are in a position to know what you’re like to work with and how you use your strengths to make things happen and benefit the company. They’ve seen you in action many times, tackling impossible challenges, re-engineering failing operations, driving bottom line profitability, etc.
One option to gather that all-important feedback is the 360° Reach Personal Brand Assessment, a confidential, web-based tool that includes a self-assessment mechanism and collects anonymous 360-degree feedback in real time from your choice of respondents. A basic account is free and the assessment takes respondents about 10 minutes to complete.
Another option, and to augment 360 Reach, is posing a few questions to these people, such as the following, which I suggest my clients personalize for their respondents as part of the personal branding process:
1. What do you feel are my greatest strengths in terms of value to the company?
2. What was my most important contribution to the company?
3. What things did you know you could always rely on me to deliver?
4. What did you learn from me?
5. How would you rate my performance on the job?
6. What makes me stand out compared to others at my level and/or doing the same work?
When my clients and I review the feedback, we look for consistencies and traits that stand out.
By comparing your own assessment to that of those who know your value best, you’ll come to a deeper understanding of your authentic brand and value proposition.
Three more benefits of soliciting and assessing feedback:
Create a high-impact job search document for your career portfolio – a reference dossier with accolades. More powerful than a typical list of professional associates and their contact information, this document includes a one or two paragraph encapsulation of their answers.
Ask your respondents to post LinkedIn recommendations for you, based on their answers.
This information also makes for powerful quotes to pop into your career marketing documents – resume, career bio, etc.