Young professionals urged to prioritize personal branding

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The youth, in particular the upwardly mobile business executive, aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals on all fields have been urged to consider personal branding an integral aspect of their plans as they warm themselves up into the business world. This is because branding has become such a big issue that if not given attention can bring down an empire within a short time.

This was the conclusive advice of panelists at a day’s seminar on Self Development and Personal Branding held last weekend in Accra. It was organized by the Center for Maritime Training and Development for Younger Women (CMTD) – an institution dedicated to the development and promotion of females into the areas of maritime and shipping.

Speaking on the topic “Self-development and personal planning essential tools for career growth,” a branding expert, Georgina Bartels, who is also the Regional Talent Management Manager at Newmont Ghana, said many people are oblivious of the effect that their brands have on their career, and this according to her has caused others to fail in business.

“When we talk about a personal brand, it is the way people perceive you, what you have deliberately set out to create for yourself. There are certain characteristics that are associated with branding and it is important that as young people you get to know this and then work at it. It is also important that you start now,” she stated.

“If someone should talk about you, what are the things that you expect to be associated with?” she asked.

She said personal branding must be a deliberate thing that everybody should set out to do, but more importantly, it should be a conscious thing by those who are into business because how they brand themselves has an impact on how far they can go.

“There are people who don’t put any thoughts to the way they are perceived, so they work anyhow and don’t take intentional steps to develop themselves. But all of these have effects on you as you grow older and start a career. So for you, as students, the earlier you start your personal branding, the better it is for you. Personal branding should be a deliberate way of making yourself an asset,” she noted.

While stating that branding one’s self is not an expensive venture, Madam Bartels emphasized the importance for one to be deliberate about it so as to get results. She said young people must learn to invest in themselves first and foremost because it is difficult to brand a substandard product.

She also cautioned the participants to be wary of how they use social media because these days some people actually visit your social media timelines before deciding to hire you or do business with you.

“So when all you post on social media is your half naked pictures or you are always seen eating, you can imagine the kind of perception people would form about you,” she stated.

According to her research has shown that it takes only Seven seconds for people to form an impression about you, but the impression formed within this Seven seconds can take years to erase.

“That is why you have to be intentional about the things you learn, about how you are open to read and open to being mentored. Being coached and deliberately setting out something for yourself”.

The Head of Human Resource at Dentsu-Aegis Network Ghana Limited, Reginald Kumtsiah-Turkson exposed the participants to ways of developing their careers and the various stages of career development. This is to enable them to take stock of their own lives, take stock of their career to be able to identify the gaps and be able to independently take steps to fill those gaps. He also shared with the participants some effective lessons on leveraging social media to break the brand that fits.

Emphasizing the importance of career development, Kumtsiah-Turkson said as young people who are now about to start their career, the earlier they know about how to plan their career the better.

“Some of us did not have the opportunity of these kind of programmes, but we were able to make it because we took upon ourselves to learn and plan ahead.

“Today is a blessing but tomorrow can be better if only you learn, if only you get people who serve as your mentors, who can help you see the holes ahead and avoid them so that some few years from now when you are my age you’ll surely become better,” he stated.

The Director for Women in International Shipping and Trading Association for Africa (WISTA), Naa Densua Aryeetey, who chaired the function also emphasized the need for young people to prioritize their self-development.

She, however, lamented the telling absence of women at decision makings level positions in the Maritime and Shipping Industry. She said the situation which is a cause of concern to the few females in the industry is not limited to Ghana but cuts across many countries and continents. She, therefore, lauded the organizers of the event for conceiving the idea, because it will go a long to prepare females for top positions in the industry.

“The maritime industry doesn’t have a lot of women at the top. It is not just Ghana alone, it is all over the world, so we are trying to encourage women to reach decision-making levels. It is time to move women from the back to the top, not just for clerical duties but right there at the top.

“So if you have the determination and the zeal to improve yourself then it is good. Self-determination and branding is the beginning,” she stated.

A Customer Services Associate at Maersk Ghana, Cynthia Asi Quartey, in her presentation urged the young ladies to open up their minds to learn and be themselves when building their brands.

Edith Ohene-Karikari moderated the discussion segment of the program.

Founding Director of CMTD, Rekia Larteykai Gberbie, told in an interview on the sidelines of the event that they were motivated to organize the event following the realization that not many people do really pay attention to the twin issues of career development and personal branding which have huge impact on the successes of their career.

“So we thought it wise and necessary to host this seminar to be able to bring all these resource persons so they could throw more lights on how our personal brands, ourselves and our careers can be developed.

“We expect that at the end of the day everybody will walk out of here being aware of themselves and identifying their brands and then picking a few tips on how to better their brands, and then take home some development initiatives that would impact their lives,” she stated.

She announced the launch of a new project by CMTD called “She Mentors Shipping” which will be fully taking off in 2020.

“The She Mentors Shipping project will focus on 10 ladies. We’ll get them mentors through matchmaking and then have the mentors interact with them at least once in a month for a period of time. It could be a direct face-to-face meeting, via social media or phone calls.  Then they follow up on the schools, their progress, their career choices and how to develop themselves to be better and through guidance. This is irrespective of whichever field they wish to pursue, it could be engineering, administration, finances, etc.” she stated.

She emphasized that the move is a deliberate initiative by CMTD Foundation to attempt to push women up the ladder of the industry.

Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson ||

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