This guest article appeared in the February 4, 2010 issue of Paralegal Strategies. It was submitted by Brian Haberly RP, a Corporate and Securities Paralegal who resides in Seattle, WA where he is the President of the Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA).
What is Personal Branding?Personal Branding is the term used to describe how we market ourselves to others. It is how we set ourselves apart from the crowd.
Whether you know it or not, you have a unique brand and it may be working for you or against you. Right or wrong, it is human nature to judge others, and most often those judgments are based largely on first impressions.
With that in mind, you should understand the importance of developing your own positive personal brand, so that you can set yourself up for success!
In a world where attention spans are getting shorter and shorter and our ability to influence others is based on the credibility we bring to a discussion, it is essential to convey a consistent message.
Just like you trust a friend’s movie or restaurant recommendation more than you do that of a critic’s written review, so too will your boss and your co-workers value your views if you have established your own credibility with consistent results, fulfilled promises, and honesty.
It used to be said that it takes a lifetime to build your reputation, but that a reputation can be lost in mere moments by one poor decision.
The good news about the emergence of Social Media, blogs, and more is that YOU can build much of your own reputation more quickly than ever, and even be seen as a subject matter expert in your particular area of expertise!
Here are 5 things to do NOW to build your personal brand:
1) Update your profile on LinkedIn and use the “View My Public Profile” feature to see how others will see it. LinkedIn is the site of choice for professional networking. If you aren’t taking full advantage of it by having an up to date, well detailed personal profile, you are cutting yourself off from many new contacts. Be sure to use your LinkedIn Public Profile URL in your email autosignature when appropriate. For instance, mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/brianhaberly
2) Ask yourself, “What do I have to offer?” Discover your unique selling proposition and then develop it. It might be your special expertise in a subject, a hobby, or a local or national cause. Better yet, start up a new organization to promote your shared interest with others. You will be building your own reputation and you will be viewed as a Leader.
3) Be generous with your knowledge. Share your experience with those around you that are eager to learn. When you lift up others, they’ll often be willing to help you when you need to call on them. Offer your ideas and suggestions on blogs. Answer questions and point readers back to your own web site, blog, or Twitter account to deepen your own brand.
4) Be personal and show that you are human. Post photos of yourself to show your personality but not photos of you drinking, partying excessively, or doing something that would make your mother blush. You want your online story to promote your best attributes, not your worst.
5) Make use of stories to leave lasting impressions. Audiences will quickly forget statistics in a story or live talk, but they will long remember your personal insights and experiences when told with sincerity, humor and relevancy. Engage people and ask questions about them and their families. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will have an outstanding personal brand.
Brian Haberly RP is a Corporate and Securities Paralegal who resides in Seattle, WA where he is the President of the Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA). He has been in the legal profession for nearly 25 years, serving in the Corporate Legal departments of several leading public companies such as Starbucks Coffee Company, Expedia.com, InfoSpace.com, Mosaix (acquired by Avaya Communications), Litton Industries (acquired by Northrop Grumman). Brian is also a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), and the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP). He also serves as a Community Advisory Board Member of the Edmonds Community College paralegal program, located a few miles north of Seattle.