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This week our contributor Sophia talks personal branding, and how to leave the best online and offline footprint! 

If you were to type your name into Google, or the search Twitter for example, what would see printed about yourself? "A positive role model", "An Inspiration", "Funny", "Amiable", etc. What would your brand look like?

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and careers as brands. It is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group or organisation. Naturally, on the first meet with someone or the first glance at their online profile, you get an immediate impression of that person. Personal branding is all about influencing that impression in the mind of others in a way that you want to be perceived. This practice is great for helping one establish themselves, and helps with applications for numerous opportunities from internships to jobs, so you clearly know what you're applying for, and why you're fit for the role.

Here are a few tips to guide you on your personal branding journey: 

What are your strengths? Jot down what your strengths are. What you are good at, the wonderful things you feel you've accomplished, and any obstacles that have led you to recognise strengths you have. In addition to this, ask your friends and family what they think your strengths are. This will also help give you a more objective perspective of yourself. It can also be quite nice to hear how other people perceive you, especially if it is in line with what you think your strengths are, so you know you're on the right track.

What are your weaknesses?   You may find it difficult to identify what your weaknesses are or think you have none (really?). Even Superman weakness is Kryptonite, so I am sure that we all have weaknesses too. You've probably heard the expression "keep your friends close: keep your enemies' closer." The same is true of strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know both. That way you can say "yes" to those things that employ your greatest strengths, and "no" to the activities that aren't going to serve your deeper purpose. 

Additionally, it is important to identify weaknesses that may delay you in achieving your goal e.g. perfectionism, procrastination etc. Once you've identified these weaknesses, it is important to acknowledge them, especially when applying for opportunities as every weakness can be portrayed as a positive. For example, when I apply for certain opportunities, a weakness I often like to put in is that I am a perfectionist. However, I always add that it shows that I am determined to give my all to everything I engage in and make sure it is done to the best of my ability. See? It's that easy! Once you have done this, make an action plan of how you will weaken your weaknesses, or even try to work on something you may feel your weak at, and try to strengthen yourself in that area. 

Social Media?  What you tweet, who you follow, and conversations you engage in may sometimes give an impression of who you are. For example, if an employer looks online for your social media, they may consider your online presence as a genuine representation of who you are (Be Cautious!). In addition, if you offend anyone or a group of people, this could become known to your employer and have disastrous consequences. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the things you engage with online and make sure it's in line with your values and beliefs, as this is a big part of your personal brand.

The biggest influencers of today have a big social media following due to the content they put out (their brand). Moreover, it is important also to follow like-minded people, people on the same journey, or have completed the journey. This will motivate you and constantly remind you to stay on track in pursuing your aspirations. Social media is also a profound way to connect with others, so if your online presence is positive, you are more than likely going to have people engaging with you. 

Once you’ve done all these things… Infuse them into your applications, CV’s, and even online profiles. Use what you’ve identified to pursue your passions and purpose as you will be more engaged in pursuing your goals, whilst serving as a “power house” of enthusiasm and inspiration to yourself and those around you. Make an action plan incorporating all these things and watch the difference it will make to your personal branding journey! For further insight into personal branding, the PwC Personal Brand Workbook is a terrific tool to help you get thinking! Look here


Sophia Adebisi Adedoyin [Sophia is a Law LLB Undergraduate at the University of Leicester, and is currently working on a project with her two friends to promote a positive black girl community.” Connect with her on LinkedIn-Sophia Adedoyin]

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