Career Management Personal Brand Self branding

Personal Branding Series | Interview with Mubeena Azeez | 2019 LinkedIn Top Voices (India), 2019 Outstanding Young Achiever (ASSOCHAM), Talent Acquisition leader & Trained Dancer

Mubeena Azeez is a talent acquisition professional and has established herself as a career management advisor. With her background in recruitment, she has also branched into social media engagement, employer branding and a whole lot more. A model and a trained dancer, she believes in inspiring people to spread positivity through her actions – personally and professionally. Mubeena is passionate about helping the community get better with career management. Watch the YouTube video interview and read the complete interview below. Look up more such stories on my YouTube channel and on LinkedIn.

Questions 

  1. What according to you is personal branding?

It is not anymore, a ‘fancy’ term. Personal branding is a must have. Irrespective of your geographical location, to me, it is about how you market yourself. You are a brand already. It is not about recreating a version of you. You need to identity who you are and how you stand out. For example, if you type your name on Google, you will gain an understanding of your personal branding. It is about complete authenticity and the right content.

2. Do you consider yourself a personal brand? How do you know it?

We cannot measure personal branding by getting some achievements or titles. Your personal brand is not defined by the number of followers but by who you engage and the volume of responses. Contribution is qualitatively measured.  For example, how you give back through community development and communication.

3. What does one do to go about building a personal brand?

To build a personal brand, most people think about self-promotion although that isn’t the right approach. The approach is to seek and give help. Be authentic in your engagement and leverage your strengths and traits. I have over the course of my career, interviewed many candidates. Many people apply for the same job. How does one go about selecting who is the right person for the role?  You look for their uniqueness and what they bring to the table. When you look for a suit, you prefer one that is tailormade – which highlights your unique identity.

4. What are the attributes of a personal brand? And what do people associate your brand with?

They view me as fun-loving and a people’s person. I wasn’t cut for say, Finance or Marketing because I don’t enjoy it.  However, I am passionate about people and therefore engaging as a talent executive allows me to bring my strengths to the fore. I have been a model and dancing is my passion. These aspects of my personality also shape my personal brand.

5. Based on your observations and learning who according to you is a personal brand? What characteristics do you admire about them?

I feel Varun Agarwal is an influencer. Another person I admire is MS Dhoni who has great leadership traits, characteristics and values. It is about getting the elevator pitch right.

6. What steps did you take to build your brand? How do you know it is working?

Most people feel that if they brag about themselves, it leads to building a personal brand. That isn’t very helpful. To build a personal brand, you need to know your audience, create goals, clarity your path and seek feedback. Most importantly, act in the right way. To sustain interest, one needs to stay focused on the goals. You need to invest time and energy and know what is important to you. Focus on one aspect and use your strengths. Communicate often with your audiences. How do you find your strengths? Ask your friends, family members and jot it down. I am extremely career oriented and passionate and my focus on people comes through in all the content I put out.

7. What challenges did you face while building a personal brand?

There will be criticism on the work you do. You need to take that in your stride.  Personal branding is a seed and the end-product, the fruit is your purpose. Personal branding is a process and it is about engaging your target audiences.  Have a positive attitude and take it as a it comes. You can’t please everyone. Some will agree with your views and some may not. Learn to take a stand and a position. Avoid overthinking and fearing the outcomes, instead think of the possibilities. If you don’t know what your purpose is, you will struggle.  For me, the MBA degree and my job helped me along my journey as a personal brand.

8. What techniques did you use?

My role focuses on job seekers and I am keen to help them. I want to help the community by sharing interview tips and by participating in groups and forums. I believe I am a life long learner and network a lot.

9. What did you gain in the process?

I discovered some great mentors and influencers. Through networking at forums like SHRM and from smaller forums as well. I prefer smaller forums since the engagement is better and you can connect on a personal level.

10. What did you lose?

I feel that I missed out on some career opportunities because some businesses didn’t interest me.

11. How can someone starting from scratch build a personal brand? What is the first step he or she must take?

My mantra is to seek feedback. There is no better way that building your personal brand than network, something which isn’t taught in management schools.  Another point is values. If you have the right attitude and passion you can build a personal brand easily.

12. If you had the opportunity to change something about the way you built your personal brand, what would that be?

I would not change anything – will continue to focus my attention on job seekers. If you are part of a talent acquisition team, you need to be defining and setting benchmarks in what you do.

13. What is your recipe for personal branding success?

Be you and be unique!

14. Who according to you are personal brands whom others can follow and learn from?

Michelle Obama and Barack Obama.  Love their art of communication and admire the way they conduct themselves. Even when they say NO, they have a way to saying so.

15. With COVID19 and other crises what steps can personal brands take?

The situation is complex. The economic downturn is also a time to reflect, create your vision and choose the right platform. Social media is extremely powerful, and we need to define how we use it clearly. It a must to have. Stress on communication and authenticity are important. Use You Tube, Instagram and Linkedin to share your views.

16. How does personalities (Introverts vs extroverts) play out with personal branding? Last thoughts on personal branding?

Irrespective of the personality you have, you need to reach out to engage people.  Tap your strengths and assertively build your personal brand. Competition is good if it is healthy.

Liked this interview? Please do share your feedback and comments.

Keen to get ahead with your personal brand? Here are some resources:

Missed the earlier episodes? Read the interviews with Muqbil Ahmar, Tinu Cherian Abraham, Joseph Fernandez, Christina Daniels, Karthik Srinivasan, Gautam Ghosh and Alexander Michael Gittens online and share your thoughts.

Keen to join this Series and share your thoughts on Personal Branding? Write to me at [email protected]

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