At some point in your professional career, I'm willing to bet a significant amount of money that you've heard the term "Personal Brand". And no, it wasn't used in the context of describing uber successful companies like Pepsi, Apple, or Disney; but instead it was used to describe you.
The first time I heard the term used to describe me, I'm not going to lie, I was more than a little bit confused. "How am I supposed to come up with a personal brand?", I thought to myself, "I'm not trying to sell anything".
I have come a long way since those thoughts initially ran through my mind. I now know that each and every professional is most definitely trying to sell something - themselves. As a result, a personal brand is probably the most important tool you have in your arsenal when it comes to creating a successful career.
The tricky thing about personal brand is that it's always working for you, either in a negative or positive way. Because of this, you have to make a deliberate effort to ensure that you remain in control of the impression you are creating for the world to see. Why leave something as important as your image and public perception to chance?
The first and most important step in developing your personal brand is to decide what you want it to be. If you had to describe yourself twitter style (140 characters or less), what would you say? This is your brand statement. The best statements drum up some emotion behind the words and persuade the receiver to not only see you in a certain light, but to also feel you.
What do you feel when you think of Donald Trump, Oprah, Beyonce, or Rick Ross? Whether you like these people or not, they've each drilled into your psyche some emotionally charged feelings about who they are. Rick Ross' is the most simple - "I'm a Boss". It doesn't get any more plain that that.
Once you figure out your brand statement, you will need to ensure that all of your professional interactions and deliverables (both online and offline) are aligned with it.
The bottom line is that personal brand is arguably the most important aspect in determining your career trajectory. 91% of recruiters and hiring managers will google you before even inviting you for an interview. Don't leave something this important to chance. Become your own PR exec in the business of marketing YOU.