Personal brand is the new buzz phrase around the office and whether you know it or not, you have one and it needs regular maintenance.
Like companies develop brands, so too do individuals and personal brands are becoming more and more crucial to career success.
So crucial, jobseekers are spending thousands to perfect the right brand to land the right job.
What is a personal brand
Career coach and personal brand strategist Annemarie Cross says personal brand includes everything from personal appearance to communication skills.
“When you talk about personal brand it’s your strengths and the value you add to an organisation through to how you present yourself,” she says.
“And the pay off can be immense because in the job market first impressions do count and if you don’t put your best foot forward you can miss out.”
With the increasing reliance on social media, a digital profile is part and parcel of the average personal brand.
“With the advent of social media, people can develop great online profiles,” Ms Cross says.
Read more: How LinkedIn can boost your job prospects
Develop your image
Those unsure of how to start developing their personal brand are turning to professionals like Colette Werden, a style and image specialist.
Ms Werden charges clients up to $5000 for top-of-the-line image consultancy, including services such as wardrobe makeovers, shopping sessions and image mentoring.
Image is the strongest reflection of personal brand, yet many struggle to get it right, says Ms Werden.
“I work with many professional women doing extraordinarily well in their industries, but they are being held back by their image and it’s costing them job promotions,” she says.
“But you don’t have to spend a million dollars to look a million dollars.”
Polishing up your personal style can help you land the dream job, but Ms Werden says there are bigger rewards at stake.
“It’s amazing how much a new wardrobe changes lives,” she says.
“In terms of feedback, the common theme I hear from my clients is confidence and identity and you can’t put a value on those.”
Brand yourself positively
While first impressions count, recruiters and managers are increasingly searching for executives bringing a host of identifiable qualities or brands to suit a corporate culture or senior role.
This can include phone manner, body language and business etiquette, says Susanne Mather, executive director at recruitment firm Employment Office.
The trick is to cultivate the personal brand that suits you and the job you’re aiming for.
“It’s all about branding yourself positively and accurately so if you get the job, it’s the one you want,” she says.
Ms Mather says personal branding is not only important for job seekers, but those seeking internal promotion. This means adopting a consistent style.
“It’s all about marketing and personal brand is something that you will carry right through your career,” she says.
“This means being consistent, much like any brand.”
Why image does count
Critics of the personal brand ethos may say it’s what on the inside that counts and skills and experience speak for themselves.
This is true to a point, says the Australian Institute of Management’s personal branding expert and author of Etiquette Secrets Anna Musson.
“People don’t believe it until they have the facts and that is, everything says something about you,” Ms Musson says.
“We are visual creatures and we do judge a book by it’s cover, so unfortunately if you don’t look the part you are not going to make it to the next level.”
A high standard of dress makes all the difference to self-image and the way we appear to others, Ms Musson says.
“If we look good, we feel good and if we’re not dressed well, that has an impact on our attitude and productivity, which is not missed my management,” she says.