In today’s competitive landscape and digital-driven world, it’s important to build a personal brand as unique as you are. Today’s tech-savvy hiring managers tend to rely on candidates’ online presence to make crucial hiring decisions. In fact, a recent survey suggests that nearly half of employers are less likely to consider a job candidate if they’re unable to find the candidate online.
Whether you’re a recent graduate entering the workforce or a seasoned professional looking to build your own business, a distinctive personal brand – both online and offline – could be the key to setting you apart from the competition. A strong personal brand can help you stand out in the market by establishing you as a credible, reliable expert in your field.
If you’re just starting on your personal brand journey, you might not know where to begin. There are plenty of strategies you can employ to bring your personal brand to life; the key is to find what works best for you. Here, we share some proven strategies for building your personal branding.
1. Know Yourself
In order to create a personal brand, you first need to define who you are and who you are not. Start by examining your core strengths and the value you could provide to employers or customers. Be introspective and objectively assess your strengths and weaknesses. Once you’ve defined what you stand for, you can start to identify companies or customers who would benefit from your personal brand.
2. Create Your Elevator Pitch
Every brand requires a strong brand statement, and your personal brand is no exception. To resonate with your target audience, you need to be able to clearly articulate your personal brand and summarise what you do and who you serve in a concise statement. Your elevator pitch should clearly articulate your value and capture people’s interest in as little as 15-30 seconds.
Though this may seem like a daunting task, a strong elevator pitch can be a powerful sales and promotional tool. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- In what areas or industries am I most knowledgeable?
- What characteristics do I have that make me stand out?
- What type of role or projects do I want to pursue?
Once you have the answers, you can start to craft your elevator pitch.
3. Define Your Brand
Once you’ve developed your elevator pitch, it’s time to define your brand. A personal brand isn’t only a reflection of who are you today, it’s also a roadmap for where you’d like to be in the future. Evaluate where your current expertise lies and how it relates to the industry you’d like to pursue. Then, build your brand around your specific area of expertise and vision for the future. Hone in one area where you possess the most expertise and highlight how you can tap into it to build value for employers or customers.
4. Take Your Brand Digital
Your online presence is a key component of your personal brand. Consider starting your own blog or website to help promote and share your expertise and knowledge. There are a lot of website builders available today that make it easy to design and build your own website, such as WordPress, Squarespace and Wix.
If you opt for launching a blog, remember that quality trumps quantity. Though it’s important to post consistently, you should aim to create content that’s informational, educational, and effectively showcases your expertise. Also, be sure to make content easy to digest and simple to share.
Miss Thrifty, written by frugal blogger Karen Fleeting, is a wonderful example of a well-executed personal online brand. Not only does the site’s content appeal directly to its target audience of young mums, but it also uses a conversational tone that connects readers to the real person behind the brand.
5. Be Social
Social media can be a powerful way to boost your personal brand. In fact, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, more than 70 percent of employers use social networking platforms like Linkedin to research job candidates. So, it’s important that you make the most of your social channels!
Start by creating an active profile on LinkedIn, which is an ideal online network for connecting with your professional network. A well-polished LinkedIn profile can be an excellent way to build trust and credibility with your target audience. When creating your profile, be sure to include the following:
- A professional-looking profile picture
- Any eye-catching profile headline
- A concise and impactful profile summary
- Recommendations from former colleagues
- Published works and articles
6. Pursue Public Speaking Opportunities
Public speaking is another wonderful way to promote your personal brand while honing your presentation and promotional skills. Seek out speaking opportunities at industry events or trade shows, or exhibitions. Alternatively, you can check with your local business chapters to see if they have any upcoming presentations or training you could take part in.
Maximize your public speaking opportunity by capturing it on video, if possible, and sharing it via your blog, website, or social channels.
7. Embrace Networking
Professional branding extends far beyond digital, and networking events can be a great way to build your brand offline. Look for in-person networking events where you can connect with other industry professionals and expand your professional circle. Trade association events, local business chapter events, and informal happy hours are all wonderful avenues for building professional relationships. Keep in mind, however, that networking is all about building mutually beneficial relationships, so think about what you can give back to your new contacts.
8. Be Authentic
When it comes to professional branding, authenticity is key. You are marketing yourself, after all. Essentially, your audience isn’t buying into your brand; they are buying into who you are as a person. As potential employers and customers see that you’re sincere in your work and approach, they’ll most likely turn into your biggest brand advocates.
Yet, it’s important to remember that your personal brand will evolve over time. As you gain more experience and pursue new opportunities, your personal brand will continue to mature.
The Bottom Line
Building a personal brand requires time, effort, and patience. However, with the right strategies, you can establish and build a personal brand that will help differentiate you in today’s competitive market. The eight strategies mentioned here are just a starting point; don’t be afraid to try new things in order to find what works best for your personal brand. The most important step is to simply get started!
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