The Definition of Personal Branding
Branding is more than just having a logo on your resume or a cool website. It’s about differentiation. What sets you apart from your colleagues? In a job search, what sets you apart from other candidates?
Personality is part of a brand; after all, one’s personality is unique to that individual. It’s also their ability to be authentic and true, and working to leverage that is to highlight the job seeker’s unique promise of value.
Just as a corporate brand is a way for a company to show who they are, what they offer, and what they stand for, a personal brand can do the same thing for you. Consistent, specific actions and words used online, in your employment documents, and in your interviews will enable you to show employers and others what you bring to the table.
Develop Your Brand
Having a solid understanding of what personal branding is and how it can be communicated is the first step to a successful personal brand strategy. Here are a few questions to help you begin to think about your own personal brand.
- What are you known for doing really well? What are you the go-to for at work?
- What are the compliments or positive feedback you hear most often?
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
- What does your ideal position and work day look like?
- What drives you or inspires you about your work?
- What sets you apart from others who do what you do?
- What are you an expert in?
- How have you helped your company save time and money?
- How have you helped your company’s customers?
- What challenges do you face every day? How do you overcome those problems?
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?
- What’s your life’s mission?
- Why are you interested in the job you’re applying to or the roles you’re targeting?
- What kind of situations get you totally jazzed—the challenges you absolutely love to take on?
- When you completely lose track of time, what is it that you are doing?
- What topic or function do you always seem to take the lead on?
- What makes you gladly hop out of bed at 5 in the morning?
- Give me 5 words which best describe you or your work. If asked, which of those words would be your No. 1 way of describing yourself?
- What’s the No. 1 thing you bring to the table?
- What would you tell an interviewer you would contribute to their organization in 30-60 days?
Build your communication base by looking deeply at who you are, what you value, what your strengths are, and who you want to serve. Then, craft an environment to fit your brand.
How to Incorporate Personal Branding into Your Career Documents
Once you have a solid understanding of your brand and differentiating factors, you can start to craft documents that showcase your personal brand and what you bring to the table.
Keep in mind that personal branding isn’t just incorporating colors, graphics, and logos into your documents – it’s about incorporating who you are into every aspect of the documents. The essence of your brand needs to be perceived throughout the resume’s summary, professional highlights, and work experience sections.
One way to immediately achieve this is to include key job titles or expertise descriptors that align with your target positions next to or near your name.
John Doe – Content Specialist | Writer & Editor | Marketing Strategist
Jane Doe – Information Technology Director | Enterprise Innovation Specialist
In your summary statement, use words or concepts tied to the compliments you receive and your career goals. Make this statement sharp and aligned with your personality and target work environment. For example, if you are known at work for being an engaged manager and are interested in working for an impactful organization, incorporate that language into the summary.
Create a Highlights breakout section to showcase significant achievements that reinforce the titles and summary statement/profile. This is especially effective if you have a lengthy career, have rapidly climbed the corporate ladder, or deal directly with profit growth or enterprise strategy.
Throughout the document, write in your voice to allow your mission to ring clear.
Available Branding Tools
There are many tools online that you can use to make sure your personal brand is on point. Check out a few of these tools:
360Reach Personal Brand Survey
Online Brand Reputation Tools: www.brandyourself.com, www.howsociable.com, www.socialmention.com, www.mylife.com
Keyword Tools: www.nichepedia.net, www.wordstream.com, www.keywordeye.co.uk, adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner, www.bing.com/toolbox/keywords/
Integrating Personal Branding into Your Social Media Strategy
When using a tagline, personal branding can amplify your social media profiles and online presence.
Consider doing this:
- Fill out and clean up your LinkedIn profiles.
- Customize your profile’s URL.
- Use a smiling, professional headshot.
- Have targeted and branded content in each section.
- Be active users by liking and commenting on what others share and endorsing connections for their skills.
- You can also show your personality and extracurricular activities by including hobbies that are relevant to the position or achievements that make them look like a champion. E.g., if you were a high- profile accountant and participated in triathlons, you can include that in your LinkedIn profile.
- When you are posting on social media (especially LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook), try to align 90% of your posts with your brand. Consider doing this:
- Develop and express a point of view on current issues, challenges arising in the field, and functions that relate to your brand.
- Identify industry-leading publications and subject matter experts and quote them on their social media platforms.
- Attend trade organizations, professional associations, and conferences and publish highlights of knowledge gained, trending solutions, and opinions.
Remember that every statement, comment, or post you make on social media should be one which best represents you and your personal brand. If you’re utilizing a tagline, here are some great ways to integrate it into your social media strategy:
- Use the tagline to continue to imprint your brand in each comment/statement made on social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Post articles to LinkedIn and Medium, using your tagline after your signature line.
- Use this tagline in cover letters and in all email exchanged between company hiring pros.
- Use our tagline in LinkedIn groups.
Personal branding is more than a logo—it is a tried, tested, and proven method to help you grow as individuals, colleagues, and leaders.