‘Who am I?’ is not simply a rusty philosophical question, but a starting point on both searching for a job and outlining your personal brand. It all begins with identifying who you are as a person so that afterwards you can find your role on the stage of professional development.
A successful personal brand does not include only your professional achievements so far, but your personal accomplishments as well. Personal character traits can be just as helpful as computer or language skills in a job search. They can become your label just like a nickname can be your byword. As the successful English businessman Richard Branson says about how he hires people, “Personality is the key”.
How to achieve positive character traits?
The latest study by Oliver James shows that genes are not the ones responsible for personality and personality itself is not something we inherit. In the article “What gives us our personality? Nature takes on nurture”, scientists point out that ‘’the idea that trapped inside the DNA is an extrovert personality, is a very misleading one.” Just like you exercise at the gym regularly, your character can be trained and developed.
You can nurture your character on daily basis in each life or work situation. The “food” for nurturing it would come from two main sources – yourself and the environment you’re in. The first main point is to become the so-called “fly on the wall”, or to be able to observe yourself from the side.
Challenge yourself with questions as an objective observer. For instance, if you want to fit into a ‘responsibility category’, see whether you were responsible, promising to pick up that jacket from the dry cleaning. If you did not, why was that? Don’t overthink it, but analyze it as you go.
Also, pay attention to how your coworkers or friends describe your character traits. They are an important source of information because they can actually see you from a different angle.
Make a list of your strong and weak characteristics. Every other day, write a note next to each characteristic, describing a situation in which you expressed this trait. Then, try every day to make a list with the positive examples longer and the negative ones shorter. It’s just like preparing for a test, except that it can be much more fun.
Why do personal character traits matter?
The two main reasons are that a) you are not a robot and b) you live in a social environment. Character matters both in how you interact with other people and how you perform at your job. Once you’ve presented your strong character traits, then you’ve put the cards on the table.
When there is a certain job to be done, other people can associate in their minds the nature of the job with the specific person, who is most suitable for it. Here are some of the positive character traits and the tasks they are appropriate for.
Let’s say you have a brilliant idea, which seems too ambitious or slightly insane at the moment. Would you dare propose it to your boss and tell him: ‘You are going to be studied in the textbooks one day if we make this work.’
The initiative shows that you not only care about the company’s current status, but you look into the future and want to drive the company forward. Activeness is one of the most valuable character traits that any employee can possess. Strategy developers and creative directors are only some of the positions which suit initiative employees well.
Are you as loyal as a dog? It doesn’t need to be that much extreme and unconditional. Loyalty can be appreciated a lot in the form of faithfulness and support. However, loyalty is not blindly following the ideas of your boss.
Loyalty contains in its essence the exact opposite as well – challenging those ideas when you believe that they will potentially cause more damage than success. That’s why a loyal employee would be much appreciated in dealing with confidential information about important deals. Also as an adviser, whose loyalty would be a guarantee for good intentions about the company’s future.
The first association which comes to mind is working in a team. You need to be a very good psychologist or “a mind reader” to be able to collaborate with all the different types of people that work in a company. That is why cooperation is not only about teamwork, but it is the most important character trait for the boss of the company.
If you know how to work and get along with each person of the company, then you are the informal leader. Every position, requiring power and authority is suitable for you, from the head of that new group of incoming interns to the solemn proprietor of a company.
People say that the accountant is the most treasured employee in a mafia’s organization and the last one that mafia people would kill. Is the accountant the most honest person in the company?
Dealing with money is as much a responsible task as it is a tempting one because once you have the knowledge about all the rules, you also get the knowledge how to get around them. An employee, possessing frankness as a character trait along with legal or accounting knowledge, might be rare to find, but would be the perfect person to rely on.
Imagine several people, who play monopoly and some of them already owe money to the banker. When they pass the starting point, all of them receive a certain amount of money. There is this one player, whose first job would be to pay his or her debts upon receiving the money.
This kind of person might not shine with any of the above-mentioned character traits, but he or she will get the job done. No matter if they are tired, sick, or have personal problems, they would give priority to their job, because they are reliable. These employees are the spine of the company.
How to show your personal brand on your resume?
Since nowadays resumes are both about presenting yourself as a professional and individual, consider some inventive ways to showcase your character traits.
Employers receive hundreds of resumes every day. Together with being specific when listing your achievements, you should show who you are as an individual. This will show them that you're a perfect culture fit for their company.
The Enhancv resume builder enables you to do that in an easy way. You can present each of the character traits in your resume through human-centric sections. For example, use the Quotes section to show your attitude towards life and work. If you state you live by words: ‘’Impossible is nothing’’, it shows you are persistent and initiative.
My previous employer wrote a recommendation for me. He said that I was the only person he had seen, who continued to work for free after the end of the internship program, just because I was interested in the job and eager to learn more. I’d stick that in the Top Strengths section. Don't only say your strength is ''Eager to learn'', also state why that is.
I hope my advice on enhancing your personal brand came in handy. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.