The Post College Professional

The Do’s and Don’ts of Personal Branding

Posted by Calling All Optimists on May 19, 2020

Tags: Early career advice

You’re well aware of brands that are a part of your everyday life, but how often have you thought about your own brand? Whether you’ve spent time intentionally building it or not, you already have a personal brand. A personal brand is who you are, what you have to offer, the values you embrace, and the ways in which you express yourself. Think about it as a set of perceptions people have of you based on how you’re interacting with the world. As you start thinking about your own brand and what you want to express, consider these do’s and don’ts of personal branding:

 

via GIPHY

DO’S

Do ask others for help

It can be challenging to create your personal brand all on your own. If you’re not sure what brand you’re projecting to the world, ask people who know you what they think your personal brand is. How would they describe you? What do they think you have to offer? Focus on asking people who know you in a professional context like bosses, mentors, and coworkers. 

Do figure out your value proposition

When you think of a company’s brand it’s easy to determine what they offer and who they serve. You need to figure out your own value proposition for your personal brand. What are the key skills you’re offering to the world? Who are you offering them to? Try distilling this into a statement to capture what you do and who you do this for; that will give direction to your personal brand. 

Do think holistically

Your personal brand extends far beyond well-designed business cards or a resume with a logo. It’s in how you carry yourself, how you communicate, and even how you decorate your desk. Every single interaction people have with you is an opportunity for you to present a cohesive brand. Look at industry leaders you admire to see how they’re presenting their own brands across digital platforms and in real life. 

Do think of ways to bolster your brand

The school you went to, the places you worked, and the professionals you networked with are all part of your personal brand. Think of ways to enhance your brand by learning new skill sets, gaining additional degrees, asking people for testimonials on LinkedIn, or joining professional associations. Pursuing your master’s degree is a great way to bolster your brand because the school itself and the degree already have a powerful brand behind them.

 

DON’Ts

Don’t write a sales pitch

People don’t do business with companies; they do business with people they like. Your personal brand is not about selling. It should be a genuine portrayal of who you are—communicated across digital platforms and in-person. You want others to see you as an established professional with real interests and hobbies. 

Don’t be inconsistent

Your personal brand needs to be consistent no matter where you are or what you’re doing. This extends beyond LinkedIn to all social media. Did you know that 93% of employers search your social media profiles? Do a personal audit on yourself by Googling your name and looking at your social media profiles from the general public’s perspective. Make sure you’re happy with the professional image you’re presenting. Consider cleaning up channels that aren’t consistent or setting them to private for just your friends and family. 

Don’t be all things to all people

It can be tempting to constantly shift your personal brand to fit into different situations and opportunities. Stick to your value proposition as much as possible and tell a clear story. If you try to be all things to all people, it’s challenging for others to determine who you actually are. 

Don’t leave personal branding out of your career plan

Personal branding should be an essential part of your career plan. A strong personal brand can lead to interviews, promotions, partnerships, and speaking engagements. Whenever you revisit your career plan, make sure you think of ways to refine and project your personal brand. 

Working through these do’s and don’ts and building your personal brand will take time and effort, but it’s ultimately worth it. An intentional personal brand will make a huge difference in your career path because it shapes the opportunities, employers, and clients you attract. Your future employers will know who they’re working with and understand all the amazing things you have to offer. 

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