“Personal brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”
– Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com
Personal brand is commonly overlooked as a component of professional growth. Most mentoring conversations center on how to conduct oneself in the presence of others: how to work a room, how to initiate a mentoring relationship, how to structure a development discussion, etc.
Bezos’ quote addresses the cumulative impact of these small interactions on your colleagues’ impressions of you. Personal brand is the persistent impression that lingers when you exit a meeting or come up in conversation. Ideally, your personal brand is a consistent theme that permeates all you do, yet makes you distinctive from your peers.
What do you want to be known as – a thought leader, an innovator, a coalition builder, an institutional expert? How do you want to be spoken about when you’re not around?
Your everyday actions and online presence should speak to this aspirational future self. Participating in social and professional clubs and activities can help shape your brand. LinkedIn and other social networking sites are also useful tools for ensuring that you sparkle from afar.