When entering into the professional market, your personal brand is everything. It showcases your credibility, your experiences, and what you have to offer. You may already be familiar with the foundational aspects of personal branding, such as creating a compelling LinkedIn profile and developing an online blog presence; however, there are a few things that are generally forgotten. Oftentimes PR and advertising professionals focus many of the efforts on developing brands for clients, but today we will give four key tips to help you make your brand stand out.
1. Create your mission statement
The first step in creating your personal brand and portraying yourself as an expert is developing a mission for your brand. Your brand’s mission statement covers your professional aspirations and goals. It can emphasize many things, such as your desire to become a thought leader, or your intention to help others reach their goals.
2. Clean up your social media
The twenty first century is a time of constant connectivity. What goes up online never really comes down. Be cautious of what you post on your personal social media accounts. In fact, it might be time to ditch the profile that contains the social photos from your crazy college years and establish a professional presence, or at least change the name on your personal account. Social media can be a way for professionals to connect with different networks. Use it accordingly.
3. Network (i.e. make friends)
I’m sure you have had plenty of experiences that emphasized the importance of networking. The key to effective networking is building connections and communicating your message to the right people — not necessarily to the entire world. Attending luncheons for organizations that you have a strong professional connection to is a great place to start. For instance, if you are a marketing professional in the Phoenix Valley area, you might be interested in a membership with the Business Marketing Association, or if you are PR professional check out your local PRSA chapter for upcoming conference and networking events.
Be sure to compile a contact list of address important connections you make along the way. Stay in touch. Be helpful.
4. Reach out
A great way to build up your own brand is by reaching out and helping others. Get involved with a cause that you truly believe in. Use your acquired skills, relationships, and smarts to assist your connections and colleagues. For example, if you see a job opening that fits one of your colleagues, or an opportunity to lend a hand in one of their non-profit endeavors, offer up your assistance. This shows that you genuinely care about them and their success. This is also a way to build credibility in your personal brand and let your actions speak for themselves.
Building a strong personal brand is certainly not limited to this short list. We want to hear from you. What are some things that you have done to amp up your personal brand? Share in the comments below!