11 weeks ago, and before I started the personal banding course; one of the two courses in the final semester of the EMBA program at UNR, my understanding of how professional personal branding works was possibly outdated. Frankly speaking, I wasn’t sure about my learning outcome from this course. I thought I have done enough personal branding in my career so far and I didn’t need much more personal branding. Obviously, I was wrong.
My initial understanding of the strategy and process of personal branding is focusing on finding my personal professional uniqueness, building a reputation on the values and traits I want to be known for, and then allowing myself to be known for them. I do also believe that building a sound professional reputation enhances the chances of success in building trust with clients, coworkers, and employers. I always thought that personal branding is quite similar to creating a point of differentiation for a business or a product to be differentiated from the competition. As I fully understand there is usually a ton of competition for the best jobs, focusing on personal branding was a no brainer for me at the early stages of my career to stand out with my skills, reputation, work experiences, career achievements and academic background.
After 11 weeks of studying personal branding course, reading Mark W. Schaefer’s KNOWN: The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age, and Jason McDonald’s Social Media Marketing Workbook: How to Use Social-Media for Business, I came to a conclusion that my initial understanding of the personal branding strategy is correct but the tools, techniques and platforms used these days are quite different from what they were a decade ago.
The career path that I have taken within the private industry has been full of challenges. My hard work, adaptability, resilience, and persistence have helped me with my personal branding, have allowed me to build a solid reputation, and to become known in the transportation industry. I didn’t rely that much on social media platforms to become known but I have kept an updated profile on LinkedIn for many years ago, used to check my LinkedIn feed a few times a day, and follow up the people that I have had the privilege to work with or interact with by some way or another.
The main learning outcome from my personal branding course is learning about the modern personal branding strategy which is strongly rooted in content marketing. During this course, I learned by doing and laid out a solid foundation for my brand by creating a personal blog and blogging with distinction, creating a Twitter account and tweeting with the purpose and sending a signal with a message in an ocean of noise and commenting on the blogs of influential people. Using these techniques and social media platforms was very new for me and it required hard work, resilience, and a continual investment of time.
At the end of this course, I believe I have created a real portfolio of products that I can use to enhance my career, I met new and influential people who are liking and retweeting my blogs and tweets, and created content that reflects an executive-level brand message. At the end of the day, regardless of the techniques and platform used, developing a personal brand requires hard work, trial and error, consistency, resilience, and persistence.
So, what’s next? I am almost finished with the personal branding course but I feel like I am still at the beginning of my modern personal branding journey. I got the foundation done and it is time to continue learning and start with building the main floor.
“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an exam and finish with education. The whole of film, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning”