Your Personal Brand Matters Most!
Building Your Personal Brand
While the process to build and enhance your personal brand is relatively simple, the work needed to have a sustainable and relevant personal brand is not easy. In order to be credible, all individuals - veteran and civilian alike - need to be able to, No. 1, articulate their values (What do you stand for? What is meaningful and important to you?); and No. 2, put action to those values (the proof is in the action). This is the only way to become truly credible for a brand.
For example, if you tell me you value “honesty,” will you give me a straight answer? Will you be truthful even if the truth might be painful to hear? Similarly, if you promote that your value is to “help others,” can I see evidence of this in your actions?
Manage and Direct Your Brand/Reputation
1. Be clear about your desired personal brand. Your military career is how you expressed your values and commitment. Now look at how your values and skills translate to a civilian job.
2. Be consistent. Focus on being consistent in your image, tone, language, online profile and body language. Promote you the way YOU want.
3. Be intentional. Make it your job to focus your experience to align with your personal brand. What are the skills, traits and aspects of your character that make you successful, relatable and intriguing to a prospective employer?
4. Pay attention to relationships. Who you hang out with professionally sends a message about who you are and creates your reputation. Be mindful of your associations and friendships - and the impression they send.
5. Earn credibility. Show prospective employers that they can trust you when you say something and can hold you accountable for specific values. Highlight examples (from your service) where you built trust and earned respect.
6. Network. Form relationships with key contacts in person and online. Learn about these contacts and find common areas of interest. Networking is a two-way dialogue; be sure to give as much as you ask for.
No transition is easy, but going from a military to civilian career is unique in both challenges and opportunities. Instead of swapping out words on a résumé to seem more relevant, focus on your brand, passions and values to make you compelling to a future employer.
Lida Citroën is an international reputation management and personal branding specialist. She is also the author of the new book, “Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition” (www.YourNextMissionBook.com).
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