Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Five Golden No-No's of Personal Branding

Chances are, when you're looking for a job, you're probably going to want to try and impress whoever it is that's reading your resume.

As Master of Marketing students, we have a pretty good idea of what to do when it comes to personal branding, but how many of us know what not to do? It might seems tempting, but it’s important not to fall into the trap of branding yourself as ‘the best USYD alum, Disrupter, Content Marketer/ Relationship Manager/Office Administrator/ Professional/ Part-time Surfer in Sydney’.

Forbes writer, Liz Ryan, maintains that, 'Praising yourself is beneath you. Let other people praise you. That's not your job! (read the original article here). Keep reading to find out about some of the personal branding choices to avoid before you end up branding yourself as a moron.

1. Branding yourself as a "guru", "mogul" or "expert"

Honestly, it's best to just stay humble. Using praising adjectives like "savvy", "strategic" or "visionary" isn't going to impress anybody. In face, besides landing your CV in the bin, all it's doing is wasting space where you could have written something meaningful. It's much more compelling if you describe yourself in a down to earth manner and not with an inflated view of yourself.

So what if saving you are an expert get you an interview? As soon as you open your mouth, the interviewer will either think you are full of yourself or wonder who wrote your resume. Confidence is great, but unless you really are a guru, mogul or expert, you are just going to look like a phony.

2. Overusing corporate jargon

‘Results-driven Marketing Specialist skilled at evaluating data, making strategic decisions, leading cross-functional teams, driving revenue and adding value by developing game changing marketing initiatives.'

What are you? Are you a human being or a robot?

Using corporate and institutional language is boring. And more importantly, it's very impersonal. Stand out from the crowd and tell your own story with your own words, not a generic template.

3. Boasting

'Elite USYD graduate and alum of McKinsey, PwC and Deloitte.'

Roll out the red carpet! Now you've made it clear that you are elite enough to get into the University of Sydney and work for three big league consulting firms, is that all you amount to?

What's more impressive is to explain how you added value to each of these organisations. What did you contribute and what can you now bring to the table?

4. Blowing your own horn

'I'm the best, the one, the only.'

Calling yourself the 'Best Digital Marketer in Sydney’ or the 'Greatest Marketing Specialist in the Southern Hemisphere’ is a pretty amateur way of branding yourself.
And let's face it, just a little obnoxious too.

The problem with touting yourself as the best is that it shows that you lack the confidence and originality to talk about your career accomplishments in human-speak.

5. Listing everything

It also puts people off from wanting to work with you. Remember, there is no 'I' in team.
I really like lists. But listing all your skills and accomplishments isn’t really the ideal way to describe yourself. It may be a common branding choice, but that doesn’t mean you should do it! Do you really want to brand yourself based solely on the tasks you can perform?

Take this for example:
"Communications, Marketing, Relationship Management, Office Administration Professional Seeking New Challenge."

Besides the fact that there are a few organisations that post jobs of this description, this brand is extremely poorly positioned. Someone who brands themselves in this way is telling the world that they still don’t know what they want to do with their life so they're just putting it all out there.

Who are you? I mean who are you really, what do you want and where do you fit in the market?

Personal branding is easy when you just be you. And with that I'm going to leave you with a quote from the wise author and philosopher, Dr Seuss, "Today you are you, that's truer than true. There's no one alive who is truer than you." Wiser words have never been spoken.

Alyce Brierley
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

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