3 quick questions for Sarah Poppy – personal branding expert!
Why do you think personal branding is so important?
Personal Branding is so important no matter where you are in your career. Investing time in your personal brand can influence what others say about you. Everyone has a personal brand. But not many people spend the time investing in developing their personal brand. Basically your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. The practice of personal branding is the conscious effort that you make to develop your personal brand and influence how others perceive you and to position yourself as an expert in your industry.
In many industries the job market is tight and when applying for roles you are up against many candidates or jobs are being filled without being advertised. Generally jobs are filled without being advertised based on personal recommendations, which is where your personal brand comes into play.
If you have positioned yourself as an expert in your field and connected with others in your industry, you will be well placed when ready to take that next step in your career.
How have you used personal branding to enhance your career?
I attended an event that was focused on personal branding after having my son roughly five years ago. Since then I have invested in my personal brand. After the event, I spent some time talking to people I know to find out how they perceive me and what they see as my strengths and weaknesses. This was a really great exercise to do as it really opened my eyes as to how others saw me and it was surprising. They saw me differently to how I saw myself but in a good way.
Not long after this, I was due to return to work after maternity leave but my position was made redundant so I had to look for new employment. It was at this time that I realised the importance of knowing my personal brand and having a personal brand statement.
When I started looking for work, I actively engaged on social media and shared my thoughts on topics relavant to my industry. It wasn’t long before I secured a new role and I was told that my online profile was looked at before my interview and impressed the panel.
How much time do you spend on your personal brand strategy?
This is a tricky question because it depends on how much time I have and what I have going on. I have spent time lately expanding my connections and working out some plans for the future and where I want my career to head. So at the moment I am re-evaluating where I am and where I want to be in the future so spending a bit of time on it at the moment. Once I have a personal brand strategy in place I would say that I would probably spend a couple of hours a week working on my personal brand. Some weeks it would be more, some it would be less. It all depends on what is going on.
If you spend time online, sharing your thoughts, networking (online and in real life) and connecting with people relevant to you, the industry you work in and where you want to head in the future, it will all impact on your personal brand and how others see you.
My tip is to start small and build on it over time. The good thing about personal branding is that it isn’t concrete. You can change your strategy as you grow and develop and your direction changes.
Sarah is wife to Ben, mum to Hudson and Ashlee. In her professional life she works as a Marketing and Events Manager in the non-profit sector. She is passionate about mums returning to work after having kids and has created working mums collective as a place for working mums to connect, share stories and advice, celebrate successes and really support and empower each other.