How you view yourself and how others view you are related. In this lesson, we'll look at self-concept and how to use it to build a personal brand that reflects the true you and makes you competitive in the workforce.
Cat is looking for a new job. She's heard that personal branding can help in her career development, but she's not sure what that is or how it can help. A personal brand is essentially how people perceive you. It communicates who you are to others, especially in a business setting. For example, if Cat is a very organized person, this is part of her personal brand. Likewise, being fun and funny or serious and intellectual can be part of a personal brand.
Cat wonders who should have a personal brand. Thanks to the internet, it's not really a question of who should have one, but how each person can craft their own. Most of us have a personal brand online through social media and other websites. When a company does a Google search for Cat, they'll find information on her. This information forms part of her personal brand.
So Cat can work to craft her brand to really represent who she is. But who is that? And how can she tie who she really is to her personal brand? To help her with that, let's look closer at self-concept.
Cat is a very organized person, but she's much more than just that. She's also a low-key person who likes to think things through before speaking up or making a decision. She's serious and thoughtful and likes to work alone. All of these things are part of who Cat is and how she sees herself.
In psychology, self-concept is how one views one's self. Many different elements can go into self-concept, from your physical body to the way you interact with others.
Are you a high energy, active individual, or more low-key and relaxed? Are you fun and engaging or more thoughtful and introspective? Are you a social butterfly or more of a lone wolf? What values do you hold? What groups do you belong to? All of these things make up your self-concept.
Self-concept is all about answering the questions, 'Who am I?' and 'What makes me unique?' In that way, it is related to personal branding. But while self-concept is about what a person thinks of himself or herself, personal branding is about taking that message to others.
Cat's self-concept includes things like organization, intellectualism, and introversion. These are qualities she sees in herself. But how can she get those things into her personal brand? How can she link her self-concept to her personal brand?
Branding the Self
Linking her self-concept to her personal brand message will tell her current and prospective employers what to expect from her as an employee. It will highlight the aspects of her personality that she feels are important.
To use her self-concept in her personal branding, there are several things that Cat can do. First of all, she'll want to identify aspects of her self-concept that can help her brand. The fact that she's a thoughtful, organized individual can be an asset to her job hunt. The fact that she can be stubborn and that she often pushes back against authority is probably not. By identifying the aspects of her self-concept that are most likely to help her personal brand, Cat is zooming in on what things to highlight.
Next, she'll want to incorporate those aspects of herself into her brand. For example, perhaps she'll want to include thoughtful posts with in-depth analysis of issues in her field on her blog. That will communicate that she is an intellectual, serious worker. On the other hand, a person who is more fun and outgoing might want to keep their social media posts light and witty to show off their engaging personality.
Finally, Cat will want to build on the aspects of her self-concept that she's identified. She'll want to communicate why those aspects make her an asset to her current and future companies. For example, she might want to demonstrate that she can analyze problems and find solutions to fit the issues. As we've seen, she can do that via her blog. But she'll want to go a step further, too. In her cover letter to prospective employers, she can highlight that skill and offer examples of how she's used those skills in her current or past jobs. That way, she is reinforcing her personal brand across platforms.
A personal brand is essentially how people perceive you. It communicates who you are to others, especially in a business setting. In contrast, your self-concept is how you view yourself. Self-concept is all about answering the questions, 'Who am I?' and 'What makes me unique?'
To use your self-concept in your personal brand, you should identify aspects of your self-concept that can help your brand, incorporate those aspects into your brand, build on those aspects, and communicate why they make you an asset in the workforce.