What do people think about when your name comes up? If you’re doing a good job of building a personal brand, what pops into their mind will match the image you hope to convey.
The word “brand” commonly gets attached to efforts companies make to define and promote their offerings in memorable ways. The same basic concept holds true for job seekers and other professionals looking to further their career by building a personal brand—only the “product” in this case is an individual.
Ready to benefit from the boost in credibility, reputation, and exposure a strong personal brand provides? Take a look at these ideas for creating and maintaining a successful personal brand.
Building a Personal Brand That Succeeds
Reflect on who you are and what you can offer.
Developing a personal brand that’s true to self and resonates with others involves careful thought. You want to figure out what distinguishes you on the job market or in your career field. But you also need to look beyond your own skills and interests to consider what your audience will find attractive or interesting. You might be the best swimmer in town, but that means little if you’re trying to land a position as a computer software developer.
Job search strategist Sarah Johnston, founder of the Briefcase Coach, recommends reflecting on questions such as:
- What am I consistently known for?
- How do others perceive me?
- What do I stand for?
“The answers to these questions can shape your messaging and image,” she says.
Aim for consistency.
Whether touting excellence at customer service, prowess at problem solving, or a knack for data analysis, keep your message the same among outlets. Such consistency drives the brand home—making it stronger and more memorable.
A key factor in unifying your presence is getting rid of anything that doesn’t support your brand. For example, Johnston notes that it wouldn’t be wise for someone whose brand is faith and family focused to share images on social media that could be seen as contradictory to these values.
“A clean online presence is key,” says Jamie Halper, founder of prettySOCIAL PR. “You have ultimate control over what recruiters and employers learn about you in the digital space. Think about cleaning up your social media channels to reflect who you are and what you stand for. Do a Google search for yourself to see what you’re ‘known for’ online. If it doesn’t reflect your cause, consider strengthening your digital footprint to better communicate who you are and what your personal brand is.”
Put yourself out there.
Once you’ve figured out your personal brand, let it shine!
“Content is king,” Johnston says. “You can control the narrative online when you create original content that backs up your brand image. Ideally, you want someone to search for you on Google and see the content you wrote or curated.”
Ideas for building a personal brand include:
Establish your own website.
Preferably, buy a domain with your name or professional identity in it (such as MaryJBrown.com or ThePersistantProjectManager.com). In addition to highlighting your skills and showcasing your best work, consider adding value through tutorials or other video content in your area of expertise. Sites such as Squarespace and Wix can help people new to web building get started.
Get active on social media.
Thoughtfully post on industry-related issues and respond to what others write. Make full use of your LinkedIn profile. Adding letters of recommendation that back up your brand, for instance, solidifies the concept you’re promoting.
Create a newsletter.
Regular (but not overwhelming) email communication to customers and people in your network keep you top-of-mind and support your brand. Mentioning what you’ve been up to is fine, but also provide items that assist the reader. For instance, a real estate agent might include an article on moving tips, a link to the list of the safest cities in America, or an interview with a child psychologist on how to prepare your kids for their first day at a new school.
Consider your value proposition.
This succinct summary tells your audience flat out what you do and why it matters. This is key to building a personal brand, as it tells your audience why they should care. Need some inspiration? Check out this article on 31 great value propositions.
Design a logo.
Enhance your words with a visual that compliments the message. Your choice of graphics, photos, fonts, colors, and the like can convey impressions from creative to no-nonsense. Use the logo on all of your outlets, including non-digital material such as business cards and stationery.
One final note as you take action: remember that building a personal brand isn’t about cheesy sayings or catchy gimmicks. Rather, it’s about showcasing your distinctive blend of attributes and abilities. Be memorable, but in a good way!
Want to Learn More?
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