Would you say that you have a successful career? Or have you simply accomplished a few things?
Terina Allen makes a great point in her article when it comes to career success. Many confuse accomplishments like financial stability and titles with being successful. However, if you don’t feel fulfilled or satisfied in your career, you can’t be considered a “success.”
Work, for many of us, is a massive part of our identity. When you don’t enjoy what you do for a living, you have less overall life satisfaction.
Think about it. Even Jim Carrey said,
“I think everybody should get rich and famous so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
He’s right. Because, according to research, your career satisfaction should only enhance your overall life satisfaction. And if you’re miserable at work, you’re going to be (at least slightly) miserable in life.
You can test how satisfied you are with your current career path using the PERMA formula:
- Positive emotion – feeling happy day-to-day.
- Engagement – challenging, absorbing tasks.
- Relationships – connecting with others.
- Meaning – having a purpose higher than yourself.
- Achievement – being good at something.
If you miss any of these in your daily work life, it sounds like you’re not happy with what you do. But according to research (yes, there’s more of it), there is one simple switch you can make to fix it:
Develop your personal brand.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is using your intimate experiences to tell relatable stories directed toward a target audience. Storytelling has always been a staple marketing tactic, but there’s always been a wall between the message and the audience.
That’s because it was never personal. As much as Jeff Bezos’ rags to riches story motivated the entrepreneur in all of us, it’s not his story that made Amazon the billion-dollar company it is today. It was actually the product and the service.
Unfortunately for CEOs today, it’s not as easy to do what Bezos has done behind closed doors. Today’s market wants (and honestly… demands) personal, relatable, and transparent faces instead of company brands. Let’s look at some of my favorite statistics that prove this:
- 66% of consumers think transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand (Accenture Strategy, 2018)
- 77% of consumers buy from brands that share the same values as they do (HavasGroup, 2019).
- 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.
That’s why people like Kylie Jenner can make $1 million from a single sponsored Instagram post, and Jane Smith’s boutique company can’t even hit that mark on an annual basis.
That’s why you’re reading this article, isn’t it? You’ve hit a roadblock. You’re unsatisfied with your career, or nobody knows who you are.
The answer is simple: quit waiting for the company, product, or service to land you new opportunities. You are the only one who can convince people you’re worth paying attention to in the 21st-century market.
Proof Personal Brands Build Successful Careers
The concept of personal branding is relatively new. I’ll give you that. Although I’ve been working with CEOs to highlight their personal brands for a decade now, the phrasing is undoubtedly different from what it used to be.
Back then, personal branding was referred to as reputation management or public relations. While these phrases are still used, I would say that they are merely fragments that fall under the umbrella of personal branding.
Still, I was a little surprised to find a 2019 study on personal branding by Frontiers in Psychology. Here’s what they aimed to find out:
Hypothesis 1a: Personal branding is positively related to career satisfaction.
Hypothesis 1b: Personal branding is positively related to perceived employability.
This research says that personal branding is marked as “differentiating yourself with perceived value and unique characteristics.” They admit that it’s becoming unclear what drives workers to long and fulfilling careers in today’s digital workforce.
As they point out, “individuals move from firm to firm and from job to a job frequently, and they also find themselves in novel employment relationships, such as freelancing, temporary and contract working conditions, and recareering or mid- and late-career changes.“
Clearly, something is wrong with the workforce, or else we would all have a successful career. Instead, what we’re seeing is people jumping through hoops, never settling on one job unless they find that highest level of career satisfaction.
Frontiers in Psychology focuses on personal branding because it’s a new concept in today’s job market. But can this one tactic alone help define and even shape success in your chosen career?
The short answer is: yes!
They conclude, “In both studies, personal branding was positively related to perceived employability and career satisfaction, both of which are measures of career success.”
In fact, when a group of 195 people employed self-promotion behaviors, they all showed greater career satisfaction than those who didn’t promote themselves.
When you work on your personal brand, you’re working on yourself. It’s almost a form of self-care, except you’re working on your career health, not your physical or mental health.
They go on to say, “personal branding implies taking proactive career-enhancing steps and clarifying the desired professional future self in the future. This is positively related to perceived employability, which, in turn, has been proven to lead to greater career satisfaction.”
I don’t know about you, but having a strategy that future-proofs your career sounds pretty satisfying.
The Key To a Successful Career? It’s All About Your Personal Brand
The reason personal branding helps you find your successful career is twofold: it helps you, and it helps your target audience.
Personal branding is strategic. It’s choreographed. Similar marketing concepts like PR can help subconsciously boost your perceived worth, but it’s all a mind game with your target audience. When you share intimate stories about your failures and success, when you share positive feedback and results from clients or customers— it really sells an audience.
On top of that, you don’t have to convince people that you’re worth hiring. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know that personal branding is all about sharing your expert knowledge via social media, blogs, and videos. Just teach people what you know, and doors will start opening up.
How To Achieve Career Success in 3 Steps
If you want to put your success and satisfaction into your own hands, you need to work on your personal brand. By actively promoting yourself online, you will draw attention from potential clients, employers, and even investors.
I’m not going to branch out into a complete content marketing strategy today (that’s what my free Personal Brand Masterclass is for). So instead, I’m going to tell you the three things you need to start with and keep in mind as you further your brand and career.
Are you ready to launch a successful career? One that can last you a lifetime (finally)? Here’s how to use your personal brand to achieve career success in just three steps!
RELATED: 10 Habits of Successful People
Step #1: Set Your Dream Goals
If you want a successful career, you need to work towards something your passionate about. If you’re not sure what that is, think about what you talk about the most. Maybe you’re the owner of that boutique shop. What do you talk to your friends and family about? Is it the pieces you get in, the marketing, or handling the finances?
Whatever it is, that’s the niche you need to focus on for your personal brand. Once you know your niche, you can set tangible goals to market yourself (and, coincidently, your business). Make it a goal to cover your bases such as:
- Create your own personal brand website
- Develop a content strategy
- Define your personal brand message
But what if you’re not already a savvy business owner? What goals should you set?
I believe people don’t have long-lasting successful careers because they’re not passionate about working for someone else. So again, work on what makes you happy and showcase that to an audience. Once you build your personal brand up enough, you can turn it into some sort of business. Here’s a great place where you can start.
Then again, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. In this case, I recommend defining your “dream goals.”
- Where do you want to work?
- What type of people do you want to work with?
- How much money do you want to make?
Once you know these goals, you can start taking steps in the right direction. When it comes to personal branding, I highly recommend committing to increasing your education. Employers will always be impressed by those willing to think outside the box and showcase their expertise.
Step #2: Show, Don’t Tell
Another useful tip? Give stuff away. For free.
The most aggravating mistake that almost all influencers make is bragging too much. It’s also probably the reason people don’t like the idea of personal branding.
You don’t want to boast.
That’s why giving away your knowledge for free is so smart— and so powerful. Free education (blogs, eBooks, YouTube videos) allows you to prove yourself. You don’t have to keep telling people how awesome you are. You just show them.
In retrospect, if people like what you preach, they’ll buy your product or service. You might even land a press feature or get an award from your company. All of this is an asset to your personal brand because it passively gives you social proof. It’s modest, tasteful, and it doesn’t feel like you’re shoving your success down people’s throats.
The best way to achieve career success? Post often. And on multiple platforms.
Trust me, you’ll feel satisfied in your career if you’re investing in yourself. So give a free masterclasses, sign up for speaking engagements, or even write a guest post for Forbes. This earns you trust with your colleagues and consumers.
But ultimately, all of this will make you feel like you’ve built that successful career you’ve been searching for.
Step #3: Be Ahead of The Game
We know that personal branding heightens your employability. The study says as much.
However, if you want to take “proactive career-enhancing steps,” you need to be ahead of the game.
This means staying on top of industry trends and posting your opinions on them. It means anticipating client or customer needs by providing proactive customer service and all-inclusive packages.
If you’re wanting to become the next famous thought leader or influencer in your industry, then you need to work on building relationships with followers, higher-ups, and industry leaders. You can do this very easily through community and social media engagement.
And finally, to really get ahead of the game and boost your personal brand, you need to learn to maintain a positive impression of yourself. After all, “personal branding… is a strategic process of creating, positioning, and maintaining a positive impression of oneself.”
Get ahead of any harmful posts and negative reviews. Then, if you screw up and word gets out, own your mistakes.
If you don’t think you have the bandwidth to run your company, take on new clients, post online, and manage your online reputation, then you need me! As a personal branding strategist, it’s my job to handle your content, PR, and image.
Everyone wants to be seen. If you’re intentional with your personal brand, the sky is the limit to finally obtaining a successful career. Whether that’s becoming social media famous or being invited to TED Talks, a personal brand in today’s digital market is what you need to succeed.
I’ll leave you with the final conclusion from the study we talked about today. The ultimate icing on the cake when it comes to personal branding:
“In these new forms of employment, personal branding is an important factor of career success as an adaptable career behavior aimed at packaging and presenting one’s professional identity to meet the needs of the target audience.”