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Personal branding for career success
Personal branding for career success

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1 Developing my brand

Before you can start to promote your personal brand to employers or others who might influence your future career, there are three broad stages to putting it together:

  1. Know what you have to offer and what is important to you – take stock of your values, strengths, behaviours, etc.
  2. Know what you want – have a vision for where you want to be career-wise at a point in the future, e.g. three years’ time.
  3. Know what you are going to say – be ready to share your personal brand clearly and succinctly at every appropriate opportunity.
A man stands in front of a white wall, as if in an art gallery.
Figure 1 Figuring it out

While this might sound relatively straightforward, don’t underestimate the challenge involved. Many people find identifying their strengths and values a difficult process, and it can take time to do it properly. However, having a clear idea of who you are and what you enjoy will help you to decide what you want to do next – whether that means setting your sights on a specific career or recognising the right opportunities when they arise.

Back in Week 1, you started to think about what your personal brand is at the moment and whether you need to make some changes. This week gives you the opportunity to delve deeper and focus on what’s important to you and what you’d like to share with individuals and organisations in the working world.

You may already be comfortable with who you are and what you have to offer, or you may be at an earlier stage on that journey. The aim of this week is to give you a flavour of the thinking and activities you might undertake to clarify elements of what you have to offer, such as your values, strengths and personality traits. These activities are designed to be useful to all course participants, regardless of experience, but some of you might feel the need for more support at this point.

Identifying your values and strengths, etc. is something a careers adviser is well qualified to help you with. Click on the following link to find out more about what the Open University Careers and Employability team can offer [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Alternatively, a coach, mentor or even a friend can provide support and feedback as you process your thoughts.

Feedback is an important tool – when you’ve decided on your list of values/strengths etc., find ways to test your analysis with family, friends or colleagues.

Activity 1 Find a friend

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Receiving feedback is extremely valuable when you are undertaking the type of self-assessment outlined throughout this week. Before you start to work through the various sections, take a few minutes to list the people you know and trust who could offer some feedback on the values, strengths and personality traits that you come up with.

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Don’t aim to collect feedback from everyone on your list for all the exercises. This could feel overwhelming for everyone involved, including you! It may be that some people are better placed to offer feedback on your skills and strengths, whereas others might comment more usefully on the personality traits you’ve identified.

In the next section you’ll focus on a fundamental element of who you are and what you stand for – your values.