In today’s competitive business environment, young workers must successfully market themselves to stand out from the pack, and many say personal branding is critical to that goal. Personal branding has become a major industry, with books, websites, and consultants competing to cash in on the phenomenon. But what is personal branding?
In marketing, a brand is a name, term, design, or symbol that identifies a company’s goods or services and separates them from those generated by another company. Personal branding applies that definition to an individual. Personal brand is a combination of an individual’s identity and image. Identity is comprised of skills, actions, values, and beliefs. Image is how others interpret those characteristics. Reputation—and a personal brand—is built when many people consistently view a person in the same way.
Experts offer these tips as ways to build a personal brand.
- Weave your story. Answer questions such as “Who am I?” “How do others see me?” “What am I known for?” “What do I stand for?” Be able to clearly explain the image you want others to identify in you. Then create a personal narrative. If you have multiple aspects of your life, think how you can weave them together to create a cohesive theme.
- Audit your online presence. Google yourself to see what is being said about you. If you have a common name, think about adding a middle initial to separate yourself from the herd.
- Create a personal website. A personal website is a great way to boost your online presence. Even a few pages that just include a résumé, a brief bio, and links to social media platforms are a great way to begin. You can always add more items as events occur.
- Build associations with established brands. Connect with names others will recognize, such as a prestigious school, mentor, or organization. Start making these connections by tapping into your three C’s: colleagues, college, and company.
Discussion Questions for the Classroom
- A personal brand is especially important to develop when you need to stand out within an organization, but why would developing a personal brand before you begin looking for work be important?
- What are some ways you can develop an impressive online presence while you are still in college?
- What is the difference between a personal narrative and a résumé?
Did you discuss personal branding with your students? Join the conversation and tell us about it!
Hyder, S. (2014, August 18). 7 things you can do to build an awesome personal brand. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com.
Williams, B. (2014, December 14). Make it personal. Retrieved from http://www.talentmgt.com.
Williams, B. (2014, December 9). 5 steps to introduce a personal brand. Retrieved from talentmgt.com