How to Develop a Strong Personal Brand
The power of branding has always been a fascination of mine. I have seen it firsthand, working in brand management prior to joining Fisher’s Early Talent Recruiting Programs team. While I never anticipated a change from brand management to recruiting, I am thrilled with the transition. My brain is still used to viewing situations through a marketing and brand management lens, which is why I saw a benefit in creating a personal branding workshop as an early talent development initiative. This workshop is a part of our content strategy for university recruiting and is one of the most highly requested pieces for our student programs. In this article, I share key insights from that workshop to help you get a jumpstart on developing a strong personal brand that can support your job search and help you stand out!
When introducing the concept of brand, I begin by sharing the definition: A brand is the way a company, organization, or individual is perceived by those who experience it. At its core, a brand is more than a name or logo; it lives in the mind of its consumer. Simply put, brands are perceptions, and that means that we, as people, also have the ability to influence our personal brand and how others view us.
Your personal brand can also be thought of as your reputation; it’s what others think of you. In the current job market, it is more important than ever to perfect your personal brand, showcase your unique skillsets, and share what you bring to the table in order to remain competitive. In other words, what makes you unique and stand out from the crowd? The following tips can help you develop a strong personal brand and enhance your job search and professional profiles.
The first step is to ask yourself the following questions:
Start thinking critically about yourself, your skillsets and why you are the right person to hire. Remember, it’s okay if you don’t have answers to all of these questions; your answers will continue to evolve.
- What value do you provide to a workplace? (What problem do you solve?)
- Do you excel in any specific software programs?
- Do you have great customer service experience?
- Do you have a track record of success in project management?
- What are your unique selling points?
- Do you have a specific skillset that makes you stand out amongst other candidates?
- Who are you trying to connect with and who is your audience?
- Why have you chosen to pursue this specific company or industry?
To kick-start your personal brand journey, outline your activities and accomplishments.
If you want to start thinking critically about your personal brand, it’s helpful to make a list of your extracurricular activities, work experience, examples of leadership, and your awards and projects. When you’ve completed your list, use elements from your answers to build your personal brand statement. Now that you have outlined your personal brand, you can begin to make actionable changes to elevate your job hunt.
Review a personal brand statement example.
A personal brand statement is used to articulate who you are, what you are looking for, and what your next steps could be. This is your “elevator pitch.” For example, my personal brand statement is, “Bridging the gap between college and your career; I cultivate strong bonds between universities, students, and rewarding career opportunities.” This statement is short but makes an impact! It not only encompasses why I do what I do for a living, it includes the value I provide, how I uniquely do it, and whom I do it for.
Incorporate your brand into professional platforms.
With your new personal brand statement, you can now find ways to incorporate that branding into professional platforms such as LinkedIn or Handshake. These tools allow you to highlight your brand, mission, and value to prospective employers.
On these platforms, a great way to present your personal brand is to customize and make the most of every aspect of your profile. Ensure that you have a comprehensive biography and work history section that best displays your professional mission and relative experience. You can also make a custom banner image for your profile to stand out among others!
Learn how to sell yourself to a hiring manager or recruiter.
To set yourself apart from other applicants, you should keep your personal brand in mind when crafting your resume and during any subsequent interviews. Here are some tips and tricks:
Resume Tips & Tricks
- Use action verbs to describe your work experience and use bullet points.
- Quantify where you can and include measureable results to show success.
- Customize your objective/professional summary to your target audience.
Interview Tips & Tricks
- Be prepared and do your research on the individual role/company.
- Come with examples of failures/weaknesses and examples of how you overcame those to show growth.
- Be able to showcase your top wins.
- Communicate your desire to move forward in the interview process.
Practice the Four-Step Elevator Pitch.
Your elevator pitch is another place where you can apply your personal brand. With practice, you can confidently talk about yourself with potential employers during career fairs and recruiting events.
- Start by introducing yourself: “Hi, my name is X. It’s so nice to meet you!”
- Provide a summary of what you do: “I am a fourth-year business major and heavily involved with campus activities. I’m looking to launch my career at a company like yours.”
- Explain what you want: “Your company provides a valuable service to clients and would be a great for match for my skills. I am very interested in working for you.”
- Finish with a call to action: “What steps I can take to learn more about opportunities at your company?”
I hope the personal brand information I’ve shared with you is helpful and equips you for success as you take the next step in your career. If there is one key message I can reinforce, it’s that your personal brand is powerful! Brands may be perceptions, but you have the ability to steer yours in a favorable direction in order to stand out and reach new professional heights.
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