Personal branding is the practice of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. A well-built personal brand can help you to reach your career goals – whether those are landing your dream job, starting your own business, or finding clients for the company you work for.
So, what would you like to be known for? Which skills and attributes make you stand out from the crowd?
1. Build Your Image
Lay out your core values. You have control over how clients and business partners think of you and your capabilities. This is something you can control. Clearly define the core values that you embody and want to be known for. Do you want to be seen as ethical? Efficient? Creative? With a growth mindset?
Define your goal, target audience, and channels. Just like any marketing plan, your personal branding strategy needs to have a clear goal, a target audience and defined communication channels. Establish what you want to achieve, whom you need to reach, and what the best online and offline channels are to convey your message.
Protect your online presence. You want recruiters, potential clients and business partners to take you seriously. Check your online presence and ensure that it is consistent and reflects well on you. Clean up your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts. Keep your private accounts private. Google your name – if anything potentially embarrassing or unprofessional comes up, delete it immediately. Employers can and will Google you.
Become the best. You want to be someone with enough expertise in their field to be able to teach others. Even if you don’t want to start marketing your advice, you need to create a perception that you are good, or even the best, at what you do.
Show your progress. Continue learning and updating your knowledge and skills. Make it visible on your online profiles: add it to your LinkedIn profile or tweet about your newly acquired knowledge.
Dare to be yourself. Key to a strong personal brand is being authentic and uniquely yourself. You want to sell yourself, your personality and your skills – not someone else’s.
2. Communicate Your Brand Online
Embrace social media. Reflect your brand on your social media accounts. Learn about how to get started on Twitter and Linkedin and build professional online presence. You can create a monthly editorial calendar where you plan when and what kind of content you will be sharing. It will help you to commit to the task, and ensure you post consistently. You can also start a blog or a website to demonstrate your skills and provide added value.
Engage your audience. Look for an audience that is relevant to you and your objectives. Reach out to the influencers in your area of interest and comment on their writing, follow them on social media and try to get a guest post on their blogs. These are the people who can recommend you or share your posts with their followers. Do not overwhelm influencers: this is a long-term process.
Share your voice and face with your online audience. In order for your followers and future employers to know you, they need to see and hear you. That means including a professional photo in your profiles and, if possible, videos, webinars or podcasts.
3. Create Professional Connections
Networking. Try to build relationships with as many professionals in your target group as possible. Find networking events, conferences and other opportunities to connect with other people or influencers in your field. Meetup and Eventbrite are good platforms for finding professional events. When you network, think what you can do for other people. When you offer something, you will also be receiving something in return. People who feel connected to you will talk about you to others, creating positive word of mouth for your brand.
Prepare your pitch. Giving a concise and relevant pitch about yourself can be surprisingly difficult if you’re unprepared. Prior to a networking event, think of a professional way to describe yourself and the main value that you offer. Your pitch needs to be targeted, so the more you know about the person you are talking to and their needs, the better. The key is to keep it very short, two minutes maximum, depending on the type of event you are attending.
Get business cards. Business cards are still a very popular way of sharing contact information at networking events. Companies typically provide their employees with business cards. However, as a student or recent graduate, you can make your own. Include your name, phone number, e-mail address, and LinkedIn profile. You may also include your most recent degree and generate a QR code that links to your website. Design your cards according to your field.
4. Succeed in the Long Term
Be consistent. Whatever you start doing, do it consistently. If you start weekly LinkedIn posts or monthly blogs, stick to your plan. It is better to start with fewer platforms and keep posting regularly.
Add value. Create change, innovate and contribute something. Don’t copy other people’s ideas. If you are not adding any value to others, your brand will die over time.
Keep it interesting. Constantly add layers to what you represent and keep it fresh. No matter how good your content is, you will run the risk of seeming repetitive if you don’t take on new challenges and incorporate new elements.
Monitor your presence. In order to know what people are saying about you, you need to monitor conversations online. Tools like Google Alerts allow you to set up email alerts on the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of query or topic. The alerts track blog posts, news articles, videos and forums that mention your name, your topic or your company as they happen. Twitter Search helps you to locate where your name appears in tweets.
EU Business School has a dedicated career services department, which helps students and alumni find internships and job opportunities around the globe. The wide range of services includes workshops and seminars, practical help with cover letters and CVs, as well as the annual Career Fair.