Your Personal Brand: What It Is, And What To Do With It

Whether you’re scouting out your next promotion, a better or different job, or you’re simply seeking to grow your network – your personal brand is key to unlocking your career goals.

Personal branding is the processes of cultivating the impression other people have of you. While terms like ‘branding’ have long been relegated to companies, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee: we all have a personal brand nowadays.

Think about yourself as a brand

You don’t get to “invent” your personal brand (just try Googling yourself and you’ll soon find that out), but you do have the opportunity to be smart about how you manage your personal brand.

How do you want potential employers and contacts to see you? What qualities do you want associated with you, what areas do you want to be perceived to be an expert in? Once you understand what you want your personal brand to say about you, it’s much easier to start getting strategic.

Writing your personal branding statement

Writing your personal branding statement is a great way to establish just what your personal brand is, to yourself and to others. This should be a short sentence or paragraph that can be used at the top of your resume and spliced and diced into any personal descriptions that might make up your professional presence.

It’s not a bad idea to search around for good examples of personal branding statements from strong contenders in your industry or people you admire, but be wary of just duplicating the buzzwords you see elsewhere. Your statement needs to be authentic to you.

The four parts of a great personal branding statement:

Your values
Values are not only key to your personal brand, but also to cultural fit at any given company, which can often be the deciding factor on whether you get the role.

Your passions
Passions should be different from values, though sometimes they may overlap. Going overboard with your non career-related passions can draw away from the value you can bring to the employer. Focus on professional passions, this could include technology, design or areas of industry development.

Your key traits
These are what help you stand out from the crowd. The big five personality traits in business have been defined as: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Your goals and ambitions
A new role is more about the present moment – employers hope for someone who will stick around for a while. Do you aspire to specialise in a certain area, or to climb the ranks to a management position? Your goals should speak to the value and longevity you can promise.

Top tip: Take control of your online presence

It’s no secret that in this day and age potential new employers (sometimes even current employers) are more than likely to look you up online. So get familiar with how you come across on the web.

If you use a different tone with friends than you would with your boss, then its more than worthwhile to make sure that your personal social media accounts are set to private. On sites like Facebook, it’s important to double check what people outside your ‘friends list’ can see, as security settings routinely change.

When it comes to your professional online profile/s, your personal brand should be woven throughout, from the way you describe yourself in an ‘about me’ to the previous roles you select to include.

If you’re serious about putting your best foot forward, you might consider creating a personal website, which is one of the best ways to ensure your search engine ranking.

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