Advice for college graduates: Sell your personal brand
The thought occurred to me that it doesn’t matter if you’re 18, 28, or 58, each are presented with some level of a “crossroads” decision. They are likely asking themselves “Now what do I do with my life?” Well, the answer to all graduates is “SELL YOURSELF!” According to author Tom Peters, “We are CEOs of our own companies. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer of a brand called YOU.” (Me, Inc.)
As I listened to NBA All-Star and professional sales graduate Damian Lillard speak to the graduates of WSU, I realized how well he has implemented the skill of selling himself. He is humble and grateful. Grateful for all the people who helped him succeed, the people who took extra time to make sure he recovered from his surgery, the professors who helped him obtain his degree, and his family. Recognizing and being grateful for those who help you along the path of life is one of the key attributes to selling yourself. Damian has developed his unique brand of himself by understanding how to work with and represent his team, how to handle the media, and appreciate the fans who support him. Damian exemplifies successful application of the branding principles that are taught in the professional sales program.
So many of these same principles apply in each of our lives as we approach “crossroads” opportunities. Let’s review the 10 steps in creating your brand:
1. Spend time thinking of who you are and also identify who you are not. Write down your strengths and review them daily. This will guide you on an ethical course in life. Ask friends or relatives what they see are your strengths.
2. Identify your goals. To paraphrase Zig Ziglar, If you will write down your yearly goals (realistic and attainable) place them in a drawer, then review your goals one year later, chances are you will have accomplish 75 percent of them.
3. Pay attention to the details. Everything you do ultimately contributes to your personal brand — the way you talk, the way you dress, your body language and the way you behave. From the emails you write, to the social media that you post, everything must be consistent with your brand.
4. Work the social media scene. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram sites to brand yourself. Make your profiles strong and emphasize your strengths. You can blog — platforms like WordPress and Joomla make it easy for you to promote yourself. You should post to social media sites a couple of times a week. Make sure your posts are interesting and educational.
5. Networking. Sometimes we resent the notion of “It’s not what you know, but who you know”; however, the synergy that is developed through relationships is immeasurable. Always look for ways to increase and broaden your circle of relationships.
6. Promote yourself. Promote yourself in person — give talks or offer to be the project leader of a community event.
7. Word Power. The power of a word can never be underestimated. What people say about you will have an effect on your brand. Update your friends, colleagues and associates on what you are doing and what you would like to achieve.
8. Lifelong Learning. Position yourself to always be learning and growing through formal education and life experiences. Education increases our vision, our opportunities and our confidence in accomplishing them.
9. Brand Review. It is imperative that you review your brand message frequently to make sure you are consistent among all platforms. Make sure your brand message is clear, up-to-date, and easy to identify.
10. It’s Necessary. Creating a brand is necessary; it’s not an option!
We may not all be NBA All-Stars, but we can create our own winning “brand” and distinguish ourselves as all-stars in accomplishing our dreams.
By Desiree Cooper Larsen, posted on standard.net