A personal brand is a consistent message about you, your career, and what you want to be known for in your field, not unlike distinguishing between product brands. It can be very powerful because it allows you to deliver a message about what separates you from other candidates with similar qualifications.
How do you build your brand?
- Begin with reflection. What makes you special or unique? These could be qualities, skills, experiences, or knowledge.
- Solicit feedback. What do prior co-workers or supervisors think about you? What would they say are your top strengths or qualities?
- Think about how you want people to see you. Are there things about you (qualities, skills, etc.) that you don’t feel are accurately reflected in your work history? For example: Are you talented in an area that you don’t regularly get to showcase? Or is there something you are known to be good at, but it’s not the direction you want to go? You want to make sure that your message is accurate, reflects your true self, and highlights the qualities and skills that you enjoy using on the job.
“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, The Brand Called You
Then, take inventory of what you already distribute. Do your materials—resume, cover letter, personal business card, LinkedIn, and elevator pitch—consistently reflect everything that you want to include? If they don’t, begin reworking them and visit the CCD for help.
Next, get the word out more broadly. Beyond LinkedIn, what is your online presence like? Could you create a website, blog, or additional social media outlet focused on your career and brand? Think about participating in professional associations, in-person networking, or local and national conferences. These are great ways to develop and establish what you are (or want to be) known for.
Finally, keep at it! All aspects of your personal brand don’t have to happen all at once. Be intentional and authentic.