Great brands don’t become great overnight. Brands such as Nike, Dunkin Donuts, and Apple worked tirelessly to build their brand and make them household names. Similarly, individuals can build a personal brand. By building your personal brand, you will find yourself having ample career opportunities you never dreamed possible. In this post, we’ll provide 7 Tips on how to build your personal brand. Let’s get started!
What is a Personal Brand?
Before we dive into on how to most effectively build your personal brand, we first must understand just what is a personal brand. A personal brand is who are you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and the manner in which you express those values. Just as a company’s brand helps to communicate it’s values to consumers, so do must your personal brand. Your goal should be to communicate a unique identity and clear value to potential employers or clients.
Said simply, your personal brand is “your story.” And that story plays a vital role in establishing and/or boosting your career. In fact, an overwhelming 85 percent of hiring managers report that a job candidate’s personal brand played an influence on their hiring decision. Make sure you’re telling the right story with your personal brand!
7 Tips to Build Your Personal Brand
1. Figure out who you are
In order to build a personal brand that accurately portrays your personal and professional identity, you first need to know who you are. Be introspective and create a list of personal strengths and weaknesses. Some questions to consider are:
- In which areas of work do I excel?
- What is my motivation?
- What characteristics have others complimented me on?
- Which roles seem to drain my energy?
- Which projects, or types of projects, can I spend hours on without feeling tired or overwhelmed?
It is important to know that the answers to these questions today will not be the same answers you provide 10 years from now, as you will grow at a personal and professional level.
2. What do you want to be known for?
Your personal brand is more than a reflection of who are you today; it should be a roadmap of where you want to go in the future. In addition to understanding your current skills, assess whether your strengths and weaknesses are compatible with whichever industry or career you want to break into next. By doing this, you’ll uncover the skills and traits that make you unique…as well as discover areas in which you need to improve or increase in knowledge/skill level. Forecasting where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, can help you determine what steps you need to take in the present in order to reach those goals.
3. Define your target audience
Before crafting your personal brand, you need to define your audience; who are you trying to reach? Is it other industry thought leaders? An individual at a particular company? Headhunters and recruiters? The sooner you define your audience, the easier it will be to craft your story, because you’ll better understand the type of story that needs telling. For example, if you’re trying to attract recruiters, you should start by updating your LinkedIn profile, as over 87 percent of recruiters leverage LinkedIn as a means to find viable candidates. However, if you are web designer or graphic artist, you may want to build a personal website or portfolio when you can better express your wide range of talents. It is all in how you define your audience and who you want to reach.
4. Follow and engage with industry leaders
As you begin to map out career paths that you want, you should begin to start researching the leading experts in those roles. Find the thought leaders in that field or industry. Don’t just follow them on social media, interact with them! Comment on their posts, ask them questions. Look for people who are being successful and emulate them…and then do one better. In building a personal brand your goal is to stand out from the crowd.
5. Embrace networking
As the old saying goes, “its not what you know, its who you know.” As you cultivate your personal brand, it is important to network regularly…and effectively to grow your professional circle of connections. Connect with peers and industry thought leaders by going to formal and informal networking. The more connections you make, the more likely it is that your personal brand will be recognized. At networking events, don’t be shy about asking fellow attendees to meet again for an informational interview or a casual cup of coffee. And remember, if you don’t get a chance to connect at the event, reach out via email or LinkedIn to get the conversation started.
6. Grow your online presence
One of the most important aspects of creating and building a personal brand is making sure your online presence is engaging to hiring managers, co-workers, and others. There are a wide variety of social media platforms to choose from; you can cultivate your brand on all of them or focus specifically on one or two. Depending on which platform you choose, your online presence will likely look different. While your story should match across across all platforms, once you know where your targeted audience is most active, redouble your efforts in telling your best story there.
7. Splurge for professional headshots
We’ve highlighted the importance of crafting and telling a compelling story to build your personal brand that will be attractive to recruiters, other industry leaders, co-workers, and more. Don’t let the actual appearance of yourself be the reason your story and message isn’t taken seriously. One of the most effective methods of expressing your personal brand is through professional headshots. An experienced personal branding photographer will be able to capture through picture the characteristics, story, and personality you are wanting to build for your personal brand.
Emily Shafer Photography: Personal Brand Photographer in Charleston, West Virginia
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how a professional headshot and personal brand photograph will proclaim your story to the masses. If you are looking to help solidify your personal brand, or looking for help in breaking into that new career or industry, contact the best Charleston, West Virginia photographer in Emily Shafer today! She has the experience, eye, and expertise to capture the best images of you to help you take your brand to the next level!