People who create content and put it out online, either intentionally or unintentionally, create their personal brand. That is a fact.
However, there is some thought that one can intentionally create a personal brand or decide, instead, to create a career brand. Personal brand meaning, it’s about “me” and career brand meaning it’s more about your company or career and more about “we”.
While this can be true (if you are intentional about it), I would argue that you can and may have a personal brand and a career brand, online, and that if you have a job (or are looking for one), you most definitely already have a career brand – even if you don’t own a computer.
A career brand is not about all the unique things you do and say online that create your online image – as stated, those are the elements that make up your personal brand.
A career brand is you positioning yourself at the center of your career interests, passions, talents and strengths, and building a strong presence where you are showcasing your expertise and gaining interest and trust from employers and clients.
If you are actively doing those things, then you are creating your career brand.
How Do I Create a Career Brand?
Your career brand is a combination of content you create online and everything you do and say during your job search and in the workplace.
However, it is important to note that your online career brand and your online personal brand cannot operate separately from each other. The success or failure of one brand can and will create the success and failure of the other. Your online career brand is a part of your total personal brand.
You can create an online career brand around your current job and company or you can create one around the career niche you are trying to obtain (ex: creating a leadership brand if you are trying to become a manager).
If you are unemployed, you can create a online career brand around the distinct type of position you are trying to obtain. All this can be done by utilizing the different social media venues – LinkedIn being a key one here.
With that said, you can have an online image that is only a personal brand, a combination of a personal and career brand or only a career brand.
If your online image is “only a personal brand”, then your brand may consist of things like: a blog about a hobby, your Facebook page which is mostly personal in nature, and articles about a cause you promote. But, you don’t typically write anything online about your career interests.
If your online image is a “only a career brand” then you have built up a brand (likely intentionally) around your career/niche and you don’t have any personal content online that is viewable to the public.
If you have a combination of a personal and career brand, online, that simply means that you created a career brand but you also have content online that is completely unrelated to your career brand (blog about a hobby, articles about a charity you like, pictures of your kids).
Remember, you must manage the content or it will manage you – a weak personal brand will definitely kill a strong career brand.
Why is My Career Brand So Important?
As an employer, my interest in you (as a candidate) starts with Google where I assess your online career and personal brand. But then, it moves on. I then talk to you on the phone, interview you, hire you, and for the remainder of your employment you will be assessed in regards to your overall performance. It ends when you leave employment.
Any time you are being assessed and evaluated,(and you most definitely are at work!) your words and actions build your brand. It doesn’t matter if it is online or offline. You must always be working on your brand.
But the most important reason why a career brand is very important is because your online career brand is only one of 10 components of what I believe is your career brand. You just can’t create an “online career brand” and get away with it. Your actual work matters.
I created the following model, which I believe contain all the components that make up your total career brand:
- Online Career Brand (your intentional efforts to brand yourself into your career niche)
- Online Personal Brand (the combination of everything that Google can find out about you online)
- Job Search Strategy
- Resume and Cover Letter
- Interview Skills
- Personal Appearance
- Work Style (how you plan, implement, and execute; how well you work with others, leadership skills)
- Attitude (beliefs, behaviors, morals, and values)
- Education and Training
- Groups and Associations (where you are or should be a member, including any speaking engagements that may result)
A good career brand is authentic, strong, and creates awareness about you. The key to your success is finding the right brand for you and building it. You then must actively and continuously strive to make it stronger and better as you gain new skills and experience.
You must keep this in mind, at all times – from the minute you start your job search, when you create content online, and in everything you do and say in the workplace.
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Jessica Simko is a seasoned senior level Human Resources professional with over 15 years of experience in all facets of Human Resources Management. She is a Career Coach and Consultant specializing in helping all levels of career professionals create, build, and maintain a strong career brand in the corporate work culture. She strives to help people connect their passions with their jobs and then to leverage their brand to maximize their potential throughout their careers. She offers a wide variety of career branding articles and tips at Career Branding Guide where she also offers coaching and consulting services based on the Career Branding Guide model. Feel free to connect with her on: