Efficiency, streamlined communication, and better opportunities are the top reasons you need to invest time in your personal brand. Here’s how you can set it up in 5 easy steps…
Whether you’re currently in the market for a new opportunity or looking to establish an online presence, setting up a personal brand will save you a chunk of time and energy in the long run! Your brand is meant to communicate your personality beyond the limitations of your cover letter and resume. Why is this important? Keep in mind that when looking for opportunities, you’re screening potential employers just as much as they’re looking for you. As you have probably experienced, a cultural fit is just as important as everything else.
Here’s how to build a personal brand that highlights your best skills!
Step 1: What’s your goal? Just like when you see a yellow shell symbol – you think gas station, or when you see a yellow ‘M’ in Mclawsuit font – you think french fries; figure out what you want to be known for. Take the time to define your goals and objectives. Do you want to be known for your landscape photographs? Or are you a new and upcoming creative writer? Or are you a new graduate, looking to get experience in the industry?
Step 2: Once you know what you want your focus to be, start researching (aka stalking). Find some other professionals that match your goals and study how they’re conveying their brand. Do they have a logo, how have they displayed their work experiences, what is the feature content on their site, do they have links to other social sites?
Step 3: Now that you know when you want to be and how you want to be perceived, access your current state in terms of perception, skillset and experience. If there’s a difference between where you are and where you want to be, determine what you can do bridge the gap. This could mean creating new work samples on your own or on a volunteer basis.
Step 4: Let’s start working on your brand! Set up an account on any of the free site providers out there such as Wix, WordPress or any other outlet depending on your preference. Your site should showcase your portfolio in a way that highlights your strongest skills. Photographers can create a gallery, writers can set up a blog, or new graduates can display projects they worked on school, or write and photograph their hobbies! Remember that the goal is to show future suppliers what you can do and who you are. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have “actual” experience. Anything you do is work.
Step 5: Once your site/portfolio is set, ensure that your brand conveys a unified message across all platforms. You don’t need to be on every social platform there is – just make sure that wherever you are, you’re the same you. Proactively manage all aspects of your brand, ensuring these aspects are in sync and that they continue to reinforce your brand attributes and market niche.
For example, if your goal is to be perceived as a smart digital marketer, it would make sense to tweet about digital marketing practices. Or, if you’re an aspiring photographer who loves to hike, feel free to share your hiking captures on your Instagram. If possible, try to use the same or similar handle across all boards.
TIP: Remember, you’re in control. This is your brand, so don’t forget to manage it on a regular basis. As your personality evolves, it’s okay for your brand to change over time, but don’t feel the need to match different audiences by communicating competing messaging across different platforms. Thinning your brand by doing so will confuse your audience and defeat the purpose!
I hope this brief run down helps you start the process. Questions? Let me know in the comments section! Also, feel free to share a link to your personal site!