Your brand as a contractor has many facets -- social, personal, resume, references -- all of which need to be actively managed. Of course, before you can manage your brand, you first need to define it. So how do you identify your brand? The first step is to ask yourself some key questions. How do you want to be seen by clients, recruiters and colleagues? Do you consider yourself a Trusted Advisor? Delivery Expert? Subject Matter Expert?
Too often I speak with candidates who have a difficult time articulating WHO they are. Too often candidates try to be everything to everyone. To help them narrow down their brand, I ask them what they were best at in their past contracts and why would someone want to work with them again. This is a great starting point in determining and building your personal brand. Here are 4 basic questions to ask yourself when identifying your brand:
What do you WANT others to know about you?
What makes you stand out from the other contractors with similar skills and experience?
What is your compelling story?
Why would someone want to work with you?
Asking colleagues how they perceive you will also help you understand the brand you are currently portraying, and whether or not you want to build on that brand or change it. Once you have written down some key points to the above questions, go back and review your answers. Look for a common theme by underlining key words. Focus on 3 to 5 areas which you will weave through all of your branding. Your resume, your social media identity and how you make your career choices are the foundations of your personal brand - and they will ultimately influence what people think of you. If you take the important steps to identify, enhance and/or create your personal brand, you will give yourself a competitive advantage and control how people view you before you even meet them.