Personal branding is a way to stand out from the crowd when you’re on the hunt for a job, or when trying to get ahead in your industry.
Put simply, it is a version of yourself that you create through your online presence, CV and personality to impress potential employers.
How to create your personal brand
Know who you want to target
Firstly you need to work out what types of jobs and companies you want to target.
Once you know this you can begin to create your personal brand image to fit what the job or company needs.
Start with why they should hire you
Now that you know what jobs you want to go for, it’s time to answer the question of why should they hire you.
The answer to this question is called your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Don’t mind the name, it’s long and awkward, but think rather of what it is: it’s a one paragraph summary of what you can offer.
Your UVP will usually sit at the top of your resume, as well as on your online profiles like LinkedIn and blog pages.
It is also a good to have a verbal version that you can pull out when you’re at interviews.
Working out your UVP
Write down all the ways that your potential employer will benefit from hiring you.
Include your special skills and what you excel in, as well as your work experience, your work achievements, what you are particularly interested in, and your work goals.
Now that you have that list, you need to connect it all together to create a paragraph which shows how you can fill the needs of the job you wish to get.
Importantly, you need to put your own spin on it, give it some of your personality!
Create an online presence
Set yourself up on LinkedIn. Again, you want to make sure that your profile suits the personal brand that you are creating. It’s key to have a consistent brand.
Think of companies like Apple, everything you see from them looks and sounds like Apple. And while they are not a personal brand, they’re a great example of a consistent brand.
Make sure to include your UVP in your profile, as well as a professional looking headshot (no selfies at parties), and get people to endorse you professionally and write testimonials about you.
Sharing content on LinkedIn that is useful in your field is a great habit to get into. It will get you noticed, and it will set you up as an expert.
It’s up to you if you want to turn Facebook and Twitter into part of your personal brand. If you don’t, make sure you have the highest level privacy settings on your Facebook as employers and recruiters will definitely do an online search for you before you go for an interview.
Also, even if you don’t use it as part of your personal brand, make sure everything you post on Twitter is work appropriate. If you are trying to brand yourself as a positive leader, don’t post rants about a poor quality meal, or the price of petrol.
If you’re going to use Facebook and Twitter as part of your personal brand, you need to do a sweep and delete of anything that does not fit with the brand identity that you are trying to create.
Next, turn off tagging options on your photos, so you have control of what photos go up on your site and don’t get surprised when a potentially embarrassing photo of you pops up in your Facebook feed.
Make sure you don’t reveal too much personal information, but rather focus on your work and education. With this in mind, make sure you carefully fill in the work experience section of your profile.
Post updates and thoughtful comments on current events in your field of work, and make sure to share articles and stories that are relevant to your work and that will help others working in the same industry.
Starting a blog or a website is a fantastic way to get your personal brand out there.
Blogs are relatively easy to set up using sites like WordPress and Squarespace.
Make sure that the look and feel of your blog represents the personal brand you are creating. For instance, having a bright fuchsia background wouldn’t be the best if you were trying to establish yourself as a respected medical doctor.
On your blog, you will want to feature your headshot, your UVP and a short explanation of your work experience.
Once you have your blog or website is set up, you will need to start posting articles. Make sure these are carefully written work-related articles. It is not a diary. It is a place where you really set yourself up as an expert in your field.
Examples of good personally branded websites
Below you’ll find examples of people who have really nailed the art of personal branding:
Gary Sheng: Garry is a software engineer for Google. His website is an impressive summary of who he is and what he has to offer.
Quinnton Harris: Quinnton is an art director who has managed to combine his personality with his work brand in a perfect mix.
Sarah Muller: Photographer Sarah Muller has used her site to showcase both her work and her personality.
John Fang: A manager and adventurer, John manages to capture his love of life and work it into his personal brand of leadership.
Nathan Robertson: Nathan is a recent graduate, and his website is designed to “convince you that I’m interesting”. A funny, yet well thought out site which clearly demonstrates his core skills as well as his personality.
Set yourself apart
So whether you want to land a job or climb the career ladder personal branding is a really good idea. It sets you apart from your competition, gives potential employers an idea of who you are, and how you would fit with their team.
So, what are you waiting for? Get branding!
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