How Personal Branding Can Propel Your Career
Personal branding can be the key to unlocking the next phase in your career.
Imagine having an ally that works around the clock, advocating for your skills and achievements to the world, creating opportunities even when you are not actively looking.
That’s what an effective personal brand can accomplish.
In an era where online profiles, tweets, and networking have become as integral to our identities as our real-world interactions, the concept of personal branding emerges as an essential focus for professionals. It’s the digital-age embodiment of the age-old adage: “First impressions matter.” But now, it's not just about making a good first impression; it’s about cultivating and nurturing a digital persona that can speak volumes even when you are silent.
To better understand the impact of personal branding, we sat down with someone who’s practiced and seen that impact first-hand.
David Fallarme, a seasoned marketing expert, helps us shed light on the subject. With experience in working with scaling startups and a proven track record of driving growth in various companies, David's insights are backed by practical expertise. His marketing acumen has assisted companies in generating revenue ranging from $1m to $25m.
David has built and led marketing teams at companies of different scales - from public companies like HubSpot and Electronic Arts to venture-backed startups like On Deck, ReferralCandy, and App Annie. With a focus on saving teams from trial-and-error execution, identifying wasted spends, and mentoring junior team members, David has seen the "growth movie" a few times and is an authority on the subject.
In this article, we dive into David's advocacy on how a well-managed personal brand can be a powerful tool in one’s career arsenal.
Understanding Personal Branding as an Asset
The Concept and Benefits
At its core, personal branding is a consistent image or impression created around an individual, often portrayed across various platforms. Personal branding is about creating a consistent image or impression around an individual. It's not just what you say about yourself, but what others say when you’re not in the room.
David believes that your personal brand is an "asset that compounds over time." He says, "just think of it as an asset... by sheer exposure to new ideas and through the practice of you articulating your thoughts... you’re able to learn faster."
A personal brand enhances your professional reputation.
It enables faster learning and solidifies your expertise.
It’s about creating an image that accurately reflects your values, skills, and experiences.
Perception is key.
David asserts that managing one's perception can open up numerous paths in a person's career. "The harsh reality is that people who manage their perception... they're just going to have a bigger surface area of opportunity," David explains. He elaborates that this perception can be influenced by how we present ourselves in professional contexts.
Positive perception gains trust and respect.
It broadens the horizon of opportunities available to you.
On one hand this might feel like extra work, but consider the power you have with the tools at your disposal. The simple notion that we can drive the perception of ourselves is powerful.
David lays emphasis on relationship building. He highlights the importance of building relationships, particularly online. He points out, "people are going to need to learn how to manage those perceptions and build relationships importantly, most importantly, in an online setting."
Moreover, engagement matters. David states, "Your Slack thread game needs to be strong. Your gif game needs to be strong."
Strong relationships can facilitate networking.
Engaging with colleagues is vital, especially in remote work environment.
Authenticity and Relationship Building
Being Genuine Online
Authenticity plays a pivotal role in personal branding. "So what are the ways you can express yourself online? And learning that language, I think, is going to be important," David notes.
He urges individuals to learn how to manage perceptions and build relationships, especially in an online setting, as "Gen Z is naturally good at this."
Be genuine in your communications.
Share experiences and learnings that resonate with your audience.
People relate more to stories than plain facts. Through storytelling, you can connect with your audience on a deeper level, fostering trust and admiration.
Engaging with Colleagues and Community
Let’s talk about engagement. David mentions how vital it is to be part of community discussions or team conversations.
"You need to be in these random channels about not just work stuff, but fun stuff. That’s some of the ways that you build relationships with your colleagues," David adds. Offering help, sharing knowledge, and celebrating others' achievements are some practical ways to engage with your colleagues and community.
Be the person who likes and comments on other people’s posts.
Share links to stories/tools with your colleagues that they’d enjoy.
Giving is the focus here and there’s no value in being stingy.
Choosing the Right Platform
Select the platform that aligns with your brand. David refers to LinkedIn as a "piggy bank" where you store value by sharing knowledge. But don’t forget, there are other platforms too.
"Think of [LinkedIn] instead of a vending machine more like a piggy bank where you're just storing value," he illustrates. David points out the importance of adapting to the online setting: “...you got to find the online analogue of that because it again, contributes to your personal brand, which you have whether you like it or not.” It's essential to understand the language of online platforms and adapt accordingly.
The choice of platform for personal branding should align with the nature of your work and the content you wish to share. Whether it’s a blog, video, or podcast, choose a medium that resonates with your audience and showcases your skills effectively.
Leveraging Personal Brand for Job Opportunities
Facilitating Career Transitions
David shares his personal journey of transitioning from working at companies to being a self-employed fractional marketing leader. He credits his personal branding efforts for this successful transition and mentions how it has helped him land his last five jobs without even applying.
He mentions, "So how do you make it so that you're not just facing a cold start when you're changing industries or changing jobs?" The answer lies in having an online presence that carries momentum.
A solid personal brand can attract unsolicited offers and opportunities. David mentions that his "last five jobs didn’t apply for it was just because I was posting stuff online."
David shared how his online presence led to job opportunities, notably at On Deck when a subscriber to his newsletter reached out with a job opportunity, as David mentioned, “Gonz, who used to be the marketing person at On Deck...Hey, I used to be subscribed to your newsletter like three years ago. We're hiring you guys. Do you want to join us?...”
Email David received for a job opportunity.
The expanded surface area of his personal brand contributed to building his credibility, a growing network, and pay dividends in the form of an opportunity.
Personal branding is a powerful tool that professionals can leverage to propel their careers. By managing perception, sharing experiences, and building relationships, individuals can widen their horizons and unlock countless opportunities. As David aptly puts it, “Your career is not a meritocracy...you have a personal brand. So you might as well be in charge of it.”
Start refining your personal brand today and take charge of your career.