Personal branding is always a hot topic, but there’s often confusion about what they are and the best way to use them. For example, many professionals think they don't have a brand, or only need to emphasize their value when re talking to a prospective employer. In fact, a strong personal brand and value proposition is integral to achieving any and all career goals, so it’s time to debunk the most common myths about them. Myth No. One: Having a Personal Brand is Optional Everyone has a professional reputation or value proposition -- just ask your boss or co-workers. So it’s better to conduct market research, discover your brand and promote an image that’s consistent with your goals. If you want more proof, consider this quote from Tom Peters: "A personal brand is your promise to the marketplace and the world. Since everyone makes a promise to the world, one does not have a choice of having or not having a personal brand. Everyone has one. The real question is whether someone’s personal brand is powerful enough to be meaningful to the person and the marketplace." Myth No. Two: Social media is Personal Branding Facebook and Twitter are vehicles that can help you promote or market your brand, but your actions, behaviors and on-the-job performance actually create it. Myth No. Three: You Can’t Change Your Brand Your brand will morph over the course of your career, so you can achieve new goals by highlighting different attributes and emphasizing unique elements of your value proposition. For example, perhaps you’re known as a great software developer as well as a great team player and inspirational leader. If you want to move up the corporate ladder, consider promoting your leadership qualities and motivational skills rather than your coding experience. Myth No. Four: Only Job Seekers Need a Personal Brand Your brand is constantly impacting and influencing your career. A strong personal brand or reputation can be instrumental in helping you score a raise or promotion, or bolster your job security. So it behooves you to weave brand management into your daily activities. Myth No. Five: Your Brand Should Be Consistent If your brand speaks to your audience, your boss and co-workers will view you differently. So change your message in order to achieve your goals. For example, emphasize the quality and quantity of your work to inspire your boss to give you a raise, or tout your patience, communication skills and responsiveness with end-users to boost your job security.