What makes YOU truly unique and what qualities do you possess that can help you stand out from the crowd? This is what you want to think about when creating your personal brand. Being able to identify your strengths can greatly help build trust and add value.
Similar to a corporate brand, think of your personal brand as a representation of how you promote yourself. It is a reflection of your experience, skill sets, expertise, and personality, and depicts how others see you and think about you.
As explained by Adam Ritchie, Brand Direction, “The first word in the phrase, “personal brand” is “personal.” Now add an “ity” to it, drop the “brand” and that’s what it really means. That’s the secret.”
Identifying your personal brand can help you further your career by positioning you as an expert in your industry. It may also help grow your social following, secure a better job, and present new opportunities. But, you can’t grow your personal brand overnight--it takes time and planning.
Tips for how to create your personal brand
Building your personal brand may seem like a daunting task, but by following some key steps, you will be well on your way. The following brainstorming tips will help you get started:
- Who are you? Start by figuring out who you are and what gets you jazzed. Create a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Think about what areas you excel in and what motivates you. What characteristics do people compliment you on? Are there activities that bring you joy and are a positive source of energy? Are there other activities that drain or overwhelm you?
- What do you want to be known for? Your personal brand should not only be a reflection of your past and present, but also a guide map for your future. Think about where you want to see yourself in five years and in ten years. What knowledge do you need to get there? What would be a picture of success for you? Establish yourself as an expert in your field so that you’re known for a specific topic.
- Define your audience. Think about who you are trying to reach. For example, is your audience composed of recruiters or industry thought leaders? If your goal is to get in front of hiring managers, then a great place to start is by updating your LinkedIn profile. If you want to attract new customers and highlight your work and expertise, then you may want to update your online portfolio.
- How will you present yourself online? We would be remiss if we didn’t point out the importance of social media with regards to establishing a personal brand. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or TikTok all play a part in helping to establish the “experience” of you among your audience. UNUM Spaces, Story templates, and the design and planning features are perfect tools to help you establish your social media presence that contribute to your personal brand.
- Write a personal brand statement. Simply put, a brand statement is a short 1-2 sentence summary of what you do and how you do it uniquely. When crafting your statement, be sure to write down all of your skills. Think about how you do the things you enjoy and what makes you different. Be sure to add colorful adjectives, and think about what your CTA or call to action is. Indeed’s career guide cites this as a strong brand statement: "I help businesses harness their image and reach their goals by creating killer websites. My site designs increase traffic by at least 25%."
Why building your personal brand is important
The keyword is “standing out.” That’s why your personal brand is so important. Building your personal brand allows you to take responsibility for how you present yourself and how others see you. For example, if you stand out in your industry, people will take note and see you as a thought-leader. When you know yourself, and understand your audience, others will recognize that. This will put you in a greater position to build your network and achieve success.
Furthermore, there are a number of invaluable benefits to personal branding. This may include money, recognition, networking opportunities, a new or better position, a new career, more productivity, and increased confidence. By creating your personal brand, you may ultimately find your dream job!
Hinge Marketing describes it well: “A personal branding strategy is a plan to take your reputation and career from relative obscurity to high visibility. It describes where you stand today and what level of visibility you want to achieve in the future.”
Your personal brand is what defines who you are and what you want to be known for. So, create a brand that will truly allow you to shine.
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” – Tom Peters in Fast Company