10 Tips for Developing Your Personal Brand and Advancing Your Career
Apple issued a challenge to the world: “Think Differently.” Nike urged people of all ages, genders, and levels of physical fitness to “Just Do It.” Dunkin’ Donuts convinced harried executives that “America Runs on Dunkin’.”
These instantly identifiable phrases have evolved into rallying cries throughout the years, setting the tone for how each organisation communicates and brands itself in the market. These slogans have communicated a story in a few words and changed how people perceive the organisations behind them. They collectively exemplify the strength and potential of branding.
A powerful brand stands out from the crowd, resulting in increased sales, increased awareness, and improved customer experiences.
However, branding is not limited to businesses. Each professional has a unique story to tell and a unique set of goals, abilities, and expertise to contribute. A personal brand is no longer optional in today’s increasingly digital environment; it’s demanded.
What is a Personal Brand?
Gresh notes that a personal brand is analogous to a corporate brand in many aspects. It is who you are, what you stand for, the values you uphold, and the manner in which those ideals are expressed. Just as a company’s brand enables it to express its value to customers and differentiate itself from the competition, an individual’s personal brand enables them to communicate a distinct identity and clear worth to prospective employers or clients.
Or, as Gresh puts it, “Personal branding is a person’s story.”
That tale may be critical in starting or advancing your career. Indeed, an overwhelming 85 percent of hiring managers believe that their hiring decisions are influenced by a job candidate’s personal brand. Your personal brand should emphasis your talents, establish a reputation, foster trust, and effectively express the distinctive traits you offer to your current (or desired) industry. When developed properly, your personal brand will communicate to employers whether or not you will be a good fit for an open position. Suggestions for developing your personal brand
While developing a personal brand may seem daunting, there are actions you can take to establish reputation in your profession. Here are five strategies to assist you in developing a honest personal brand—and so amplifying your career.
Ten Tips for Developing Your Personal Brand
1. Determine your identity
To create a personal brand that effectively reflects your personal and professional identity, it’s critical to first understand who you are. Conduct an introspective assessment of your personal strengths and flaws. Consider the following:
- Which aspects of my job do I excel at?
- What inspires me?
- What qualities have people lauded me for?
- Which initiatives have required repeated assistance from others?
- Which roles appear to be the most draining on my energy?
- Which projects allow me to work for hours without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted?
If you’re having difficulty answering these questions, consider how your friends, family, and coworkers might define you. Once you’ve gained a better understanding of the various elements of your personality, you may decide how to effectively brand them.
Bear in mind that many people struggle with choosing a specialty since they are averse to restriction. Recognize that, like many corporate brands, your personal brand will evolve as your career progresses. The ideal technique is to pick a specific area to focus on and allow it to evolve over time.
2. Decide what you want to be remembered for
Your personal brand is more than a snapshot of who you are today; it serves as a road map for the future. Along with examining your existing abilities and competences, Gresh recommends evaluating your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the sector or career you wish to enter next.
This will reveal the talents and characteristics that distinguish you, as well as the areas where you need to improve or acquire new knowledge in order to advance. Forecasting where you want to be in five or ten years—and the characteristics for which you want to be known—can assist you in determining the measures necessary to get there.
3. Identify your target audience
Before you begin developing your personal brand, you must first establish your target audience. Is it other thought leaders in the industry? A specific employee at a certain company? Recruiters? The sooner you define your audience, the easier it will be to design your story, as you will have a clearer understanding of the type of story you must convey (and where you need to tell it.)
If your objective is to connect with hiring managers and recruiters, for example, you might begin by creating or upgrading your LinkedIn profile. Why? Because 92% of recruiters utilize social media to source high-quality prospects, and 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn.
On the other hand, if you’re a graphic designer looking to impress current clients and attract new ones, you may prefer to tell your narrative through a personal website or portfolio, which allows you to showcase your diverse range of abilities.
4. Conduct research on the industry in which you’re interested and learn from the professionals
Gresh proposes that when you begin sketching out the occupations you desire, you compile research on specialists in those fields.
“Determine who the thought leaders are in the field in which you are engaged, and do not simply follow them,” he advises. “Go online and see whether they have blogs or other outlets where they contribute their thoughts. Look for successful people and study what they do. Imitate them and then surpass them.”
Your goal in developing a personal brand is to stand out—but you cannot get to the top without first taking stock of who is already there.
5. Submit an inquiry for informational interviews
As you begin compiling a list of companies for which you wish to work and industry executives that you like, consider contacting these individuals and requesting an informational interview.
“They take about 20 minutes but are quite valuable,” Gresh explains. “Do not be afraid to inquire of anyone with whom you wish to learn more. You’d be amazed at how sincere and generous people are.”
When meeting with these folks, ask questions that can assist you in gaining fresh insights into your desired field, such as the following:
- How did you get your start in the industry?
- What actions would you take if you had to redo the transition?
- What direction do you see the industry taking?
- How do you keep up of industry trends?
- Should I join any professional or trade associations?
According to Gresh, informational interviews have an added benefit: “You’re not only learning about the requirements for entry into the profession, but you’re also giving a little bit about yourself during this interaction.” You are establishing your brand.”
While there may not be a job on the line at one of these interviews, there may be one in the future—and you want that company to consider you when imagining the ideal candidate.
6. Create a elevator pitch
While conceptualizing your personal brand, spend some time developing an elevator pitch—a 30- to 60-second narrative about who you are. Whether you’re attending a networking event or an informal gathering, having a prepared elevator pitch enables you to clearly communicate what you do and where you’re going (or would like to go) in your career.
“You need to come up with extremely succinct statements—stories to tell—that cast the correct light on your attributes,” says Frank Cutitta, founder of the Center for Global Branding and a graduate professor at Northeastern University who offers a course on personal branding.
Keep your elevator pitch succinct by concentrating on a few crucial elements. This could be because you’re seeking for a new position, have expertise in a specific niche, or have lately enhanced the worth of your present department or firm.
7. Adopt a networking mindset
While developing your ideal personal brand, it’s critical to network consistently (and effectively) in order to expand your professional network. Attend formal and casual networking events to meet peers and industry thought leaders.
The more connections you build – and the more value you add to your encounters – the more likely your personal brand will be noticed. And, given that networking accounts for 85 percent of all job placements, routinely attending these events will help you not only establish your brand, but also potentially progress your career.
At these gatherings, do not be afraid to approach other guests and request an informational interview or a casual coffee talk. Additionally, if you miss an opportunity to interact during the event, contact out via email or LinkedIn to have a dialogue.
8. Inquire about recommendations
Obtaining endorsements from current and former colleagues and supervisors is one of the simplest and most successful ways to define your personal brand, as it enables people to promote your value on your behalf. Just like a corporation may collect client testimonials and reviews for use in sales and marketing brochures, you should cultivate your own recommendations.
LinkedIn is an excellent site to solicit endorsements, as these suggestions are likely to capture the attention of prospective hiring managers. However, don’t forget to ask those endorsing you to serve as an actual reference during your job search, making certain they’re willing to speak with a prospective employer or write a genuine letter of recommendation if necessary.
Are you unsure who to contact? While former supervisors who supervised you closely are excellent, other connections, such as professors and leaders of organisations to which you belong, can also produce good recommendations.
9. Increase your online visibility
One of the most critical components of personal branding is ensuring that your online presence is engaging for hiring managers, coworkers, and others—even if you are not actively seeking employment.
With the proliferation of social media platforms accessible today, your online presence will almost certainly vary based on the medium you choose. While your story should be consistent across all platforms, if you understand where your target audience is most likely to spend their time, you can focus your efforts on telling your greatest story there.
Additionally, if you wish to keep one of your sites or profiles strictly for friends and family, alter your privacy settings to ensure that potential employers do not come across any information that could jeopardise your job search. Here are some platform-specific recommendations to assist you in developing an effective online personal brand.
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter.
Personal website or portfolio
If you work in marketing or design, it’s critical to have a personal website or portfolio that contains critical information about you and graphically showcases your work. You may design your own website using a variety of tools, including Square space, Wix, and WordPress. Small firms and business owners can also start developing brand-specific content by utilizing helpful design resources such as Canva and Venngage’s logo templates.
10. Keep in mind that your personal brand does not exist solely online
Your brand is more than an online presence; it is also how you conduct yourself at home, at work, and even during your daily commute.
Gresh emphasizes, “Your reputation is everything.” “Those who upset or frustrate others—their actions will come back to haunt them. Take advantage of whatever opportunity you have to collaborate with others, volunteer for projects, and express your leadership. That is a component of your brand.”
Leadership is not a function exclusive to C-suite executives. At every level of the company, there are strong leaders.
“Leadership is derived from how you behave, act, and inherently relate with others,” Gresh explains. “That is true leadership.”
Your personal brand is ultimately defined by the story you tell and the everyday interactions you have.
As Your Personal Brand Develops
Your personal brand will evolve in lockstep with the digital ecosystem and your job. Adapt your persona as you meet new people, discover new networking opportunities, and advance in your profession. As long as it is consistent with your work life, don’t be afraid to develop a brand that allows you to shine.
About the Author:
Harsh Puranam is a Senior Graphic Designer, UI & UX Designer, SMM Expert, and Motion Designer from Hyderabad, Telangana.