I remember interviewing for my first “professional” job more than 20 years ago. I was preparing to interview for a Receptionist position in a small adhesives manufacturing company. Perusing the local newspaper, my eyes fell on this position, I knew I could do the job, I circled the ad and dialed the phone number.
Preparing for my upcoming interview, I went shopping for a new navy suit, wrote my first resume and practiced smiling in the mirror. My confident and jovial phone skills helped me earn an interview. I brought my enthusiasm with me as I stepped through the glass doors of the office. I met with the President and General Manager who took turns tossing questions my way. Thankfully I was prepared for this volleyball match. I even had to pretend to answer the phone. I was hired! My new home away from home for the next 4 years.[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Reputation is the foundation of your personal brand.[/pullquote]I gained a lot of valuable knowledge about myself from that experience. I learned how impactful verbal and nonverbal skills are when presenting myself either on an interview, a meeting or any client facing interaction. This was my first epiphany of understanding the importance of and building my own personal brand. Like a corporate brand, our personal brand is how others perceive and trust us. We buy name brands such as Johnson & Johnson because it represents several generations of quality family products. Same holds true for our personal brand. People buy from you or me based on those same ideals.
Fast forward to today. The art of building your personal brand still entails verbal and nonverbal skills. However, technology and social media have added a new twist to self-promotion.
Think about your clients. Are most of them doing business with you because of their relationship with you or your company? I am sure your answer is, the relationship with you. Reputation is the foundation of your personal brand. So how do you create and maintain your personal brand? After more than 2 decades of corporate growth, from receptionist to business owner and entrepreneur, here is what I have learned:
1. Choose your attitude
This is one of the 4 tenets of the famous Fish! Philosophy by John Christensen. No one says that everything is going to be easy, but it is better to go into a situation with a positive attitude than that of fear and defeat. People feed off of the energy you emit. Choose happiness!
2. Care about what you wear
As an Image Consultant, always ask my clients: “You have 3 seconds to make a great first impression – what would you like everyone to see?” If you show up to a meeting dressed inappropriately, i.e. ripped jeans and a t-shirt, the first impression will be a lack of interest in the client. However, showing up in a professional outfit sends the message here I am, I care about you and I am ready to do business. Remember you want to choose the right attitude internally and externally.
3. “Social-ize” with intention
Look at your local paper, the job ads have dwindled to barely a half a page if there are any listings at all. Our need to network via the “virtual” or social media conversation is just as important as meeting peers face-to-face.
Employers and job seekers use social sites such as LinkedIn, to post jobs and screen candidates. HR departments do their best to ‘Google’ prospective hires to see where their names are linked to. Be intentional with whom you connect. Link to colleagues you know, or maybe professionals you do not know, but they are in your field or target market. Follow and comment on relevant blogs or even start your own. Being known as an expert in your field is one reason you get hired.
4. First Impressions
Building rapport by attending multiple social events is an effective way to establish your referral base. This is where your first impression is most important. Confidently introduce yourself with smiling eyes and a strong handshake. Remember, as they say, “it’s who you know!”
Where personal appearance and personality is the aesthetic side of the interview process, your resume provides the facts. Address, work experience, education and contact information are necessary to reinforce why the potential employer is interviewing you. Take time to research strong key words to describe your previous job functions as well as hitting that spell check to look for errors. Too many spelling errors send the message – I am careless.
We promote our personal brands everyday in our professional lives. Our appearance, attitudes, in-person and social media conversations are all aspects a prospective employer or client uses as building blocks to establish respect and trust. It takes more than a phone call to get noticed. You need to take a stand to be heard.
Lisa Shorr’s mission is to inspire confidence through image and fashion. Understanding that style is unique to each person, she empowers each individual, client or group to align with who they are mentally and physically, with how they dress. As the owner of two businesses (Shorr Style & Secure Future Tech Solutions), Speaker, Writer, Marketer and Mom, Lisa’s consistent message focuses on the importance of our own “Personal Brands” – always presenting ourselves authentically and stylishly to achieve success! Lisa believes your voice is more than what you say it is how you say it both in tone and appearance. Together let’s sing!
Photo courtesy Flickr