3 Misconceptions about Personal Branding for the Everyday Professional

By, Nicole Martin

As social networking grows in both our personal and professional lives, the subject of personal branding is becoming increasingly important.  But even for those who social networking is not a priority, it is still important to understand personal branding.  Below are three common misconceptions about personal branding and why debunking these myths is important.

1. You cannot brand a living creature like you can a product.

This, as much as you would like to believe it, is not true.   Think about personal branding this way: every one of your thoughts or actions will cause a reaction in those who observe it.  These reactions – immediate thoughts, emotions, etc. – become your personal brand to that person.  In other words, there’s no avoiding it.

A good example of an everyday professional’s personal brand is the colleague who never, ever takes a lunch break.  To some, this person is thought of as diligent and hardworking.  To others, they could be viewed as a kiss-up to the boss or even as a non-team player since they never connect with colleagues over lunch.  Even if you are an everyday professional, you should still think about your actions and how they can affect others.

2. People will look past the surface to discover your personal brand.

Did you know that it takes just 7 seconds to make a first impression?  This means that another person has an opinion about you, all of you, in the first 12 or so words that you speak.  And a lot of times, people will not remember their childhood lesson of “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  First impressions could make or break business deals, job offers, etc., so you want to be aware of both your verbal and physical cues.  What is your tone of voice?  Are you smiling and have good posture?  Are you dressed appropriately?

Think about someone who is very obviously trying to sell you something.  They are trying too hard and sound insincere.  Are you going to continue to listen to them?  Probably not, unless there is no option to purchase the good or service from someone else.

3. You can have a professional brand and a personal brand.

Technically you can have both a professional brand and a personal brand, but maintaining both would be very difficult.  While you could probably get away with this for awhile, there is always the risk that both worlds will collide.  If then do, then it is possible that you can lose a lot of credibility.

Instead, don’t shy away from allowing your professional colleagues getting to know the real you and your interests outside of the office.  You may find that it’s easier to make a connection with others too!  Just be aware of how much is revealed on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Your closest friends may know you went on a bender last Saturday night, but why would you want to advertise that?

While personal branding may not be your entire career, it can still affect your life as the everyday professional.  Be aware of how others perceive you, make changes as needed, and you will be set!

Nicole Martin

Nicole Martin is the author behind Employed Panache, a blog that proves dressing for work does not mean that you have to be boring! The past several years has given her a lot of knowledge about life, whether she wanted it or not. Nicole has experienced working full-time in Human Resources while earning her MBA part-time, being a recruiter and then getting recruited, and working with over 100 interns who made her realize that she can’t always relate to her own generation. Employed Panache is the way she brings it all together through one creative outlet.

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