Tips To Kickstart Your Personal Brand Development

By Zach Seybert
In July 24, 2017

Our friends over at the VIKTRE Career Network recently shared a story titled “The Importance of Building and Leveraging Your Personal Brand,” and we thought there was a good message that needed to be shared with the NexGoal audience.

An athlete’s brand consists of anything from his or her style, the companies he or she partners with and values. While the personal brands of professional athletes are very visible and seem to be relatively easy to develop, non-athletes are also tasked with developing their own personal brand. The difference here is that when it comes to personal brands, the non-athlete uses it primarily to promote him or herself as they progress in a career.

Building on the importance of athletes establishing and fostering their personal brand, we thought that providing tips on how to develop a personal brand for job seekers would be beneficial for a wider audience.

For those unfamiliar, your personal brand is how people perceive you and the set of values and characteristics that guide you when making decisions. According to Skillcrush, “If Oprah’s personal brand is founded on her empathy, then a web developer’s personal brand might be based on her solution-oriented approach.” Having an awareness of your personal brand is pivotal when it comes to building a prosperous career in any industry.

There has been an increased emphasis on the importance of personal branding and with the advent of social media, this is becoming more and more relevant. With the constant “connectedness” in today’s society thanks to technology and the various social networks available at our fingertips, it is easy for someone to create a perception of you without having ever met. This is another reason emphasizing the role that self-awareness plays in personal brand creation.

How exactly should one work on establishing his or her personal brand? Our friends at CareerBuilder created 10 tips on how to be proactive about building a personal brand.

Define your brand

The easiest way to do this is to write down the words and values that people would use to best describe you. The key to this part is to be honest and choose words accurately describing who you are.

Have a specialty

In order to stand out from the crowd, it is important to have a specialty related to your field. If you do not have a specialty, there are plenty of resources available to learn a variety of topics in whatever industry you aspire to break into. In the digital marketing/communications industries, HubSpot has a variety of free certification courses to continue educating yourself about the intricacies of the industry.

Write your bio

Creating or updating a personal bio can also be viewed as your “elevator pitch.” This is a way to pitch yourself to companies when seeking opportunities and keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date.

Create a blog or a personal website

Either of these options are useful to show creative writing skills. Personally, I became involved in writing for Sports Agent Blog and Front Office Sports to not only continue my passion for writing, but also to stay up-to-date as to what was going on in the sports industry. My involvement in these sites has led me to many connections in the industry both in person and via social media.

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Use professional networking sites

In today’s social age, I am always very surprised when I meet people in their early 20s who do not have a LinkedIn page. While sometimes the use of the network can be diluted and become too much like a Facebook, the site provides tremendous opportunities to foster professional relationships. I have secured numerous informational interviews and even an internship solely from LinkedIn, so I am a believer in this tip.

Build your communication skills

Communication is key in any industry. Being able to effectively communicate about yourself is a key component of building your personal brand.

Participate on social media

As mentioned a few times, social media is a huge aspect of building a brand. The best part about it? It is free! You can interact with industry professionals, learn about hot topics, share blog posts and more. However, there is also a negative side to social media as users can sometimes “overshare.” Establish guidelines for yourself and your social use and you should be in the clear.

Build your network

Going back to the use of professional sites, building a network is something that should constantly be worked on. Yes, it is important when getting a job, but it is also incredibly important in career growth. As the saying goes “it’s all about who you know.” By establishing your network utilizing a platform like LinkedIn, you can stay up-to-date with those you have met and remain in contact with.

Say No

I could write another whole story on the importance of being able to say “no” in your career to avoid burn out, etc., but in this case, the ability to say “no” to various things that do not align with your brand is important.

Do good work and live your values

This is a prime example of “practice what you preach.” You can say that your values are one thing, but unless your actions actually align with these values your brand gets diluted.

Wrap Up

As is the case with many things, sometimes the hardest part is just starting – the same can be said of setting out to create your personal brand.

However, the aforementioned tips from CareerBuilder should provide a good launching point to do just that. After establishing your personal brand, it must constantly be worked on as it represents who you are as a person. As you continue to grow professionally and personally, your brand should reflect that.

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Zach is a Digital Content and Marketing Specialist with NexGoal, who specializes in creating career transition and job search preparation content.