Personal Branding

Once upon a time, creating a personal brand meant having business cards printed to distribute at networking events. While that’s a strategy you can still employ, there’s more to it today. From social media to blog posts to personal websites, building your personal brand takes effort and strategy. Personal branding is a surefire way to stand out in your field and advance your career.

What is personal branding? Personal branding is the way you present yourself both online and offline. Your personal brand centers around you and what makes you an individual. Strong personal branding will set you apart from the other professionals in the job market today. Your offline and online presence is your personal brand.

Why is Personal Branding Important?

It’s a fact: recruiters, human resources representatives and potential employers Google candidates before they interview them. What they find in these search engine results can have a serious impact on your career and professional life.

In fact, according to recent statistics from CareerBuilder, more than half of all employers surveyed said that they won’t interview or hire a candidate who doesn’t have some sort of online presence. This means your online personal brand can definitely influence your long-term success.
In today’s job market, the average employee switches jobs every 2-3 years. It is estimated that 40 percent of the workforce will be freelance by 2020. As we switch toward a gig economy, it’s even more important to create a strong personal brand. You don’t have to be a top influencer, but creating content and establishing an online brand is important for getting the attention of potential employers.

How to Build a Personal Brand

The first step in personal branding is defining your target audience. You need to consider who you want to reach. Another consideration is what kind of impression you want to make. What is the market you want to target? The answers to these questions come easy. In most cases, you’re seeking to reach potential employers, potential clients and colleagues. When building a personal brand, you’d like to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

From there, the next step is to audit your search results. What do you find when you Google your name? You likely will find your social media sites and social networks. Do you need to clean up any online content that doesn’t jive with your desired image? Maybe you have a MySpace page lingering online with questionable or immature content. Maybe the top result is your latest Twitter rant. Try to scrub this kind of content from the internet. The kind of content you want to avoid includes:
  • Behavior that could be deemed unprofessional
  • Grammatical errors, swear words and other unprofessional communication
  • Drug use or drinking
  • Polarizing views on controversial topics like religion, politics, gender and race
  • Anything that might be considered sexually explicit
  • Bullying and references to violence
Make sure your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages all reflect your best self.
After you have audited and cleaned up your online presence, the next step is to define yourself. Think about what makes you unique. Think about what you want to achieve with your presence online. There are a number of things to ask yourself when defining a personal brand. These things include:
  1. What sets me apart in my field?
  2. What is my vision for my personal brand?
  3. How can my personal brand help me reach by professional goals?
  4. What accomplishments can I cite to prove my value?
Your personal branding strategy might extend beyond social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. In fact, you might consider building a personal website. Your website might house a brief biography, a resume, awards you’ve won and other professional content. By taking control of the information available about you online, you are taking control of your personal brand.

When it comes to today’s job market, a personal branding is a must. With a basic understanding of a branding strategy, it’s time to get to work building your own personal brand.

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