Mark Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift, Donald Trump. What do they have in common? Aside from robust bank accounts, they all have very defined personal brands. A personal brand is the message about yourself you want everyone to hear. But it’s not just for millionaires and celebrities. You need one too!
From your resume to your email signature and your social media accounts, everything you put out should reflect your beliefs and brand. Now, as you prepare to apply for your first post-college job, is the perfect time to project talent, promise and professionalism.
“Even though personal branding has been with us for decades the advent of social media as a daily part of all our lives has brought it to the forefront and made it a priority in today’s wired world,” says Karen Tiber Leland, a branding expert and author of “The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand”. “It’s critical to make sure your online presence represents you in the most powerful and professional way.”
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A personal brand helps you get noticed
Failing to brand yourself does not mean you will fail to land a job, but it can make you a less competitive candidate. You may not be found by the countless recruiters, companies and hiring managers who are scouring social media and the Internet to find stand-out candidates. In a competitive job market, someone with a strong personal brand is going to land on more HR radars than those applicants that simply rely on their resume.
According to Nicole Smartt, author of “From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice For Getting Ahead At Work”, says it should include a few key ingredients:
- A consistent mission statement that tells the world what you want out of life.
- Then comes your values and your passions. What gets you up in the morning and keeps you going need to be conveyed in your personal brand.
- Your strengths have to be showcased. You want your audience to know about those unique qualities that make you stand out from your peers.
Crafting a personal brand forces you to figure out what you want out of your career and how to convey that. “Creating your brand spurs the creation of your ‘elevator pitch,’ the way you share your mission verbally or in writing,” says Smartt.
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Personal brand comes in different forms
Scrubbing your Facebook page is just the beginning of crafting a brand. It can be the tagline at the end of your email signature or business cards or it can be an entire website devoted to you. Some people build their personal brand by composing blogs on Medium, taking part in the conversation on Snapchat and providing followers, colleagues and peers with actionable information. You don’t have to spend hours building your brand online, but you do have to keep it current and fresh.
Sure, social media is fun and effortless, but inappropriate or derogatory content harm your job search. Same goes with seemingly innocent political comments. It’s easy to offend someone with posts on politics and religion. Experts say you want to keep your social media profiles clean, use them to discuss your industry to guarantee that recruiters understand what you value and know that they could trust you with the company brand. Leland adds, “If you don’t define your personal brand, someone else will define it for you.”