Brands are omnipresent, recognizable and memorable. Just like any company, you need to work on your personal branding if you want to grow in your career.
To find out how to build your personal brand, we’ve interviewed Sofia Baldissera, a career advisor at ESCP, who helps Bachelor in Management (BSc) students in their career choices.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is the intersection between who you are and how people perceive you. A refined version of who you are and an extension of your personality.
If you have any online accounts, you already have a personal brand. The good news is that, by defining what people see about you, you get to shape your own story.
Why does it matter?
A clear personal brand helps you to be remembered more easily by others. By aligning the content you share on online platforms with the person you are in real life, you make your profile relevant and genuinely attractive.
If people manage to understand and remember who you are and what you can offer in one sentence, they are far more likely to reach out to you for opportunities.
Building a personal brand is “the first thing we encourage students to do” says Sofia Baldissera. “We make sure they are aware of the importance of the most effective tools: CV, cover letter and professional social networks such as LinkedIn. We teach them how to use these tools effectively and coherently, all of which helps them establish their own authentic brand”.
How to build your personal brand?
According to Sofia Baldissera, there are two types of students. Some already have their career plan in mind, knowing that they will work in banking or consulting for instance. Others, on the other hand, want to explore a bit more before deciding on a career path. In both cases, your values and personality traits are unlikely to change drastically in the near future so here’s how to build your personal brand:
1.) Find out who you are
When it comes to personal branding, authenticity is the keyword to remember. You should fully resonate with your personal brand so that if someone who’s seen your online profile sees you in real life, he will sense no difference between the image you put out and your genuine personality.
For that to happen, you need to be very self-aware. Start by asking yourself about:
– the main values that drive you?
– your purpose in life?
– the things you love doing?
– your defining personal traits?
Sometimes, it can be hard to answer these questions for yourself. If needed, ask people who know you well how they perceive you and find some similarities in their descriptions.
2.) Polish your online presence
Now that you have defined who you are and how you want others to perceive you, make sure this image is consistent with your online presence. Do a quick online search to see what comes up. Make sure your profile is up to date on all the main platforms.
On top of that, if you’re serious about building a successful career and want people to recognize you for who you are, it’s a good idea to start creating content. Pick a medium that works for you — blog, video, podcast — and stick to it. You don’t need to be an expert in your field, as long as you’re bringing value to your audience on a regular basis.
3.) Take advantage of networking events
Our personality should not only stand out online but also during in-person events. We already know how essential networking is to build strong relationships that, once you graduate, can help you on your career path.
Therefore, all opportunities must be seized. Take part in the numerous events organized by ESCP Business School: career fairs, networking events, seminars, and presentations.
Do not overlook the details and get well-prepared beforehand. Which companies will participate? Will there be an opportunity to meet managers engaged in the field of your interest? Are there any topics you could prepare yourself on to better interact with other participants?
Also, don’t forget to bring business cards and a few copies of your CV with you if the occasion allows.
How can the Bachelor in Management (BSc) programme help you develop your personal brand?
The way people see you thanks to your online presence is one thing, but who you really are and who you aspire to become is a lot more important. In this regard, the BSc can help in many ways.
First, ESCP offers you the possibility to join one of the many school societies such as the luxury, consulting and finance societies. “Thanks to these experiences, students gain much more confidence about the sectors they are interested in, and build their own personality and brand,” says Sofia Baldissera.
During the programme, students also have a yearly internship which gives them the possibility to experience different fields every year. This helps the students even further in understanding what they are interested in.
Finally, BSc students also have the opportunity to become ambassadors. “As career advisors, we encourage students to be ambassadors,” says Sofia. “This is an experience that enlarges their professional background, which is highly welcomed by companies and universities”.
Ready to build your personal brand?
Following the recommendations above will not only contribute to building a strong personal brand but it will also help you to stand up to your own vision and to grow personally.
Indeed, a personal brand can be used as a reflective tool to help you see where you could improve. Students who clearly define their personal brand get more involved in the bachelor programme because they know where they are heading and, once they finish their studies, they are better prepared to enter the world of work or build their own company.
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