Building Your Personal Brand Zahrina Robertson Today, there is a lot of talk about personal branding and every career minded professional understands its importance. Everybody has his or her own personal brand. Effective brands are based on reality. To build a strong brand, you must focus on authenticity and who you really are. Strong brands are uncovered, not created! Strong personal brands know their values, passions, goals and ultimate mission. You must know yourself and to know yourself you need to learn what others think about you. Since your brand is held in the minds of the people who know you, you must be constantly aware of external perceptions. Think about what you stand for and what your values are. With a clearly defined brand statement, you can begin to get the message out, both online and offline. Start to share your story so you can build emotional connections with your target audience. LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Circles and Instagram are some of the most accessed websites on the Internet. By not being present on these platforms, or by having an average social media presence you are missing valuable opportunities. Effective personal branding requires constant repetition. In the steps of this process you should integrate your brand into everything you do to increases the breadth of your brand, reinforce your message and increase your credibility. Personal branding requires steadfast commi tment, regular attention and constant intention. This should not daunt you, as above all else, personal branding is about being your best self – always. The Importance of looking after your personal brand this Christmas, New Year and Beyond… The Christmas season is upon us once again and so begins the staff parties, Christmas drinks and New Years celebrations. The weather is warmer, the days are longer and that is reason enough to celebrate! The many events that surround Christmas and the New Year could be the perfect opportunity to showcase your personal brand. You should enjoy yourself at these events; it is a celebration after all! Be positive and spread good Christmas cheer amongst your colleagues and friends, as they will remember you in the New Year. While staff parties are intended as social events to reward employees for their hard work, they remain strictly business events.