The world’s biggest brands need no introduction.
Starbucks. Coca-Cola. Nike. They sell different things, but what they have in common is that they’re all established brands in consumers’ minds.
The same can be said for some of the world’s most influential people. Famous figures like Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs and (yeah, we know) Taylor Swift have all found success because they had a strong personal brand.
If you’re a business student or professional, now is the time to consider the brand of YOU. What image do you present to the world? Your brand combines everything from your skillsets, personal experience and future aspirations to your social media presence, networking style and overall aesthetic.
Here are our top tips on building a stronger personal brand that can set you apart in a crowded job market.
Know Your Work Values.
Your personal values guide everything you do, from how you interact with others to the activities you prioritize each day. Like your experiences, your blend of values is unique to you. When it comes to your career, work values can range from autonomy and variety to competition and advancement. Identifying exactly what they are will help you determine what kind of brand you should build and what sort of opportunities you want to attract.
Identify Your Strengths.
In order to create a compelling personal brand, you have to know what you can offer to the market. Do you have years of leadership experience? Are your accounting skills unrivaled? Make sure you weave these top strengths into your personal brand, letting them be the highlight of your story. If you’re not sure where to start, check out a resource like StrengthsFinder, which will help you identify where your natural skills lie. Or ask the people who know you well to share what they think you’re best at.
… and Weaknesses.
The most successful personal brand creators know they can’t be experts at everything. Just like it’s important to know what you excel at, it’s also necessary to be aware of the areas with room for improvement. This doesn’t mean you need to advertise your weaknesses. But you should constantly be working to improve them and be honest about your progress. Oh, and by the way — saying you’re a perfectionist no longer counts as a weakness!
Write Down Your Goals.
We’ve all got goals. But whether or not we reach them has everything to do with how clearly we do — or don’t — define them. Once you’ve identified your strengths and work values, write down your top three to five goals for the future (research shows people who write down their goals are more likely to reach them), and create action plans to meet them. This will help you tailor your personal brand so it sets you up for the right opportunities.
Create a Personal Website.
Once you know what your personal brand is all about, it’s time to share it with the world. A great way to do this is by creating a personal website, featuring sections like a short biography, your résumé and your contact info. Your website should reflect your personal style, so feel free to get a little creative. But make sure it also fits in with your industry (check out examples of websites from other professionals in your field). If you really want to make your site stand out, include a blog where you share your thoughts on industry-related topics.
Clean up Your Social Media.
You might be able to control your brand on your website, but it gets a lot harder when it comes to social media. Just one inappropriate comment or photo can undermine your professional image and ultimately weakening your personal brand. Keep this from happening by reviewing your profiles on every social media site, and delete anything that could be considered offensive or immature. For more tips on what you should and shouldn’t post online, check out our previous list on the subject.
By Priscilla Aceves