Every day, you see brands, you wear brands, you use brands, and you eat and drink brands. Business branding is everywhere.
You are also a brand.
Personal branding is especially useful when you’re job hunting or promoting yourself for other reasons. It’s up to you to craft your personal brand so that it conveys what you want it to convey.
What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is the combination of factors that create an impression of you in the minds of other people. It’s your values, strengths, personality, passions, and all the other characteristics that people see in you.
You don’t need a logo, and your resume is only a part of your personal brand. You are a complete package. When you develop your personal brand, you shape it to help your best qualities stand out. You can shape it differently for different purposes to show employers and others who you are.
How a personal brand can help you
How many times have you had what you thought was a successful job interview, knowing that you were fully qualified for the job – and you didn’t get it?
It used to be that a good resume and a suitable personality were all you needed to get the job you wanted. These days, employers look further. When they research applicants online, they may find LinkedIn profiles, Facebook profiles, articles that you wrote, questionable photos, snide remarks on Twitter that you posted, and so on.
In fact, almost 80 percent of recruiters are required to look into your online reputation to see if there are any red flags.
Your personal brand helps you set yourself apart from others. Chances are that your competitors have already built their personal brands, making it easier for hiring managers to make decisions about them. One of them may have been hired for your dream job.
A well-developed personal brand can also help you with these endeavors:
- Getting job promotions
- Having recruiters notice you
- Receiving recognition in your field
- Developing industry connections
- Attracting clients
- Strengthening your desirable qualities
- Reaching your goals more easily
How to develop a personal brand
First, identify the elements of your personal brand.
You are the brand product, and you need to know how to describe it. You need to know what skills, strengths, talents, and experience you offer, what accomplishments show what you can do for others, and what are your core values and passions are. You need to be able to explain your goals and decide what you want to people to recognize you for.
The answers to those questions form the unique package that is you. Once you’ve identified these traits, you need to package and publish them. There’s a bunch of different ways to go about this.
LinkedIn is a key part of your personal brand. Prospective employers and clients will look for you and expect to see you there. Spend time writing a profile that shows off your personal brand. Review and update it regularly. Take part in LinkedIn discussions. Quality contributions will make people notice you and view your LinkedIn profile.
Create profiles and take part on other social media platforms as well. Keep personal posts private so that professional connections see only posts that contribute to your personal brand.
Applicants who have a personal website are more likely to be hired than those who don’t have one. Use your website to draw attention to your accomplishments, and keep it updated. If you write well, consider having a blog. A blog with industry-relevant articles can go a long way to building your credibility and attracting job offers.
How to use your personal brand
Now it’s time to create a resume that highlights the characteristics that form your personal brand. Use it to help employers understand your unique qualities that are relevant to their needs.
Today’s resumes are more than lists of past jobs and responsibilities. Start your resume with a personal statement that describes your brand and what you offer of value to employers. Have a bulleted list near the top of the first page with accomplishments that illustrate your proficiency.
Hand in hand with resume writing is researching target employers. Read their job ads carefully, and shape each resume to underscore the aspects of your personal brand that can best meet their challenges. Research jobs not only on large aggregate sites, but also on local job boards. If you live in New York, for example, search the ads for jobs in your field at New York Jobs.
You can also post your resume online. Choose a version that will appeal to the majority of employers you’re targeting.
Let recruiters and your personal contacts know that you’re looking for a new position. When they understand your personal brand, they’re better able to recognize potential job matches. Networking groups may also help you find the right connection.
Continue to take part online, monitor your social media presence, and write in your blog if you have one. Hiring managers and recruiters could be searching for you online at any time.
Continue to connect with more people online. Past colleagues and supervisors, college alumni, people in your networking groups, and other people in your field can be valuable connections. Help them when you can, and they’ll want to help you.