All the time we talk about brands and PR in relation to others – companies we work for, agencies, clients and so on. Somehow, it seems to me, we forget to talk and, for that matter invest time in a different kind of brand: our own.
Unless I am seriously mistaken, we think about what we do when we put together or revise our resumes. That is the time when we really look back to our achievements – few or many – and make a list for others to see and maybe take us into consideration for a position.
PR for PR, as someone I know calls it, is something we do rarely. We forget to attribute real value to our work and, even worse, we don’t take credit for it. Modesty is a quality we admire in others or possess, but when it’s time to get the things we want professionally, it doesn’t serve us very well.
Let’s assume that we all want to get the job our dreams (spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist :P), get the perfect clients and the perfect portfolio of projects. We have experience, knowledge, we work hard. Is there anything more to do on our way to success? Yes. Some PR for ourselves.
Without further introduction, here are some ideas that might help. In no particular order.
- Develop your own brand’s mission, values, statements and slogans. I don’t mean exaggerations. I mean position yourself as a brand, based on what you proved so far. Is honesty one of your personal values? Or professionalism? Then include them in your brand, make them truly your own. And live by them (because this is the most important part).
- Find out what makes you different from other PR professionals – what you can provide better than them, what you’re good at. Do your own SWOT analysis and focus on your strengths and opportunities. Look at yourself and the market through the proper lenses though, we don’t want them to be too rosy and create unrealistic expectations.
- Invest in business cards, personal logos, professional photos, professional portfolios. They are important. Not only they may support your personal brand, but they speak professionalism.
- Update your resume and LinkedIn profile regularly. Each project is important and adds to your experience. Mention not clients, but activities and challenges. Do ask for recommendations from the people you worked with.
- Network. Period. Networking is the most important thing for your personal brand. It’s a good time to position yourself and discuss business opportunities.
- Invest in professional certifications. They help. More than you know.
- And for that matter, keep reading, working, writing, “PR-ing”, whatever you do best. Improve and develop yourself constantly. Talent gets better with perspiration.
- Don’t go for the first project that is offered to you. That is, choose your clients and projects carefully. Go for challenging stuff, rather than mundane. They speak a great deal about your brand and about what you can do. Not to mention that it’s easier to work for people you like and respect.
- Give 110%. All the time. Walk the extra mile. Put passion into everything you do. If you’re forced to do things in a way that doesn’t satisfy you professionally, don’t do them just for the sake of it.
- Remain true to yourself. It’s good too be proud of what you do, work on your brand, pass on business cards at every corner… but keep your feet on the ground and remember where you come from.
Basically, you are your most important client. You need to invest time, money, and care into your career. You need to be the living, breathing product of your experience. Career is not something you take from a shelf, it’s something we build. So let’s go out there and put that PR to work. For ourselves. It’s the best advice I ever got. Or read.
And speaking of reading, there is one book I liked on personal branding (PR for PR in our case). Tom Peters’ “Brand you 50″. It will make you think at least, if not develop your own brand right now.
Until next time, keep doing your magic.