Personal Branding: How to Brand Yourself

What is your personal brand?

A lot has been written recently about the importance of developing a personal brand, why you should care about it, and how you can build it. Essentially, in developing a personal brand, you are selling yourself and the impression you make combined with the reputation you create in society - whether you want one or not.

Personal Branding Template

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How do you create your personal brand?

Ultimately, your personal brand is whatever comes up when someone Google’s your name, or thinks about you and your work. It is also what differentiates you from others.

  • How do you want to present yourself to the world?

  • If you were going to pick adjectives to describe your ideal self, what would they be?

  • What is your best version of yourself?

  • What would you look like at a typical day at your ideal job? What qualities would describe you?

You may want to present yourself in social media to friends and family members differently than how you want to present yourself to employees. It begins with a personal brand statement that includes information about your value to the workplace, your strengths or what you are good at, your audience such as your current and future employees, what about you is unique. Think about your skills, education, personality, training, experiences, or other qualities.

Then, you’ll want to analyze your social media presence. Log on to one of the websites where you have social media account like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Eventually, you will want to look at yourself on all your social media sites. Evaluate on how you present yourself in social media and to the world and compare your social media presence to your personal brand statement. In order to be in control of your personal brand, you need to take control of your social media and search results. It will take you more time to update and edit your social media presence the longer you’ve had your profile. It is important to make sure you look at comments, pictures and posts you’ve liked, created and shared on your profile and others’.

After you analyze your presence, you’ll want to create a Social Media Action Plan. Update your existing profiles to make sure they reflect your personal brand statement. Decide how much time you want to spend on social media to keep it active, current, and consistent. Prioritize spending time on platforms that are most aligned with your objectives. You can develop a calendar of social media posts, so you can map out your plan, and you can use a social media dashboard such as HootSuite or Buffer to help you stay organized. You’ll also want to clean up any controversial posts that are inconsistent with your personal brand statement. You should assume that anything you post on the Internet will be there forever. Make sure that you don’t have any posts that you would not want future employees, business partners, or customers to see. There are many websites where you can write reviews of people, places, or products such as Yelp and Google Reviews. If you write reviews, you may want to be particularly cautious about what you write. It is fine to be critical as long as you are objective and fair. Be aware that employers and potential mentors may be turned off by someone who is overly negative or aggressive in their comments.

“92% of U.S. companies have used social media networks to find talent and potential employees to hire.”

— Jobvite 2012 Social Recruiting Survey

Pro Tip

An easy way to update your profile is to base it on the profile of someone you admire. Preferably, someone who is in the same industry or business that you are interested in entering. Analyze this person’s profile and think about their personal brand.

  • Who is it?

  • How would you describe this person’s brand? What adjectives would you use to describe his or her public presence and strengths? Is there anything about this person's social media presence that suggests that he or she is unique?

  • Are there parts of this person’s profile that are not consistent with his or her personal brand?

  • Are there parts of this person’s profile that could be edited or modified to strengthen his or her personal brand (e.g., reputation and online presence)?