A Beginner’s Guide to Building Your Personal Brand at Work
A strong personal brand can help you define and guide your career trajectory, but what actually is a personal brand and how do you build one?
What Is a Personal Brand?
Unfortunately, there’s no one universally recognized definition of a “personal brand,” and that’s one of the main reasons why building a personal brand often feels like such a daunting task.
So let’s take a step back. What is a brand? A brand is a non-generic product name (like Netflix or Toyota) but we also use the word “brand” to talk about the public’s perception of a company, product, or service. A company’s brand is also its reputation.
Similarly, you can think of your personal brand as the way people perceive you in the business world. But it’s not just about what other people think. It’s also about what you say and do.
So how should you go about branding yourself at work?
Building a Personal Brand
Building your personal brand is about demonstrating the true, unique value you bring to the table.
Personal branding starts with recognizing your most important strengths and skills. It’s also about understanding your personal values, beliefs, personality, and aspirations. All those things are part of the story you tell as a professional.
If you’re not sure how to start defining your personal brand, get out a pen and paper and start freewriting. Writing things down can help bring clarity to our thoughts, which makes it easier to identify what’s important.
Personal Branding Tips
Once you have a solid understanding of what you have to offer, you’re ready to start promoting your personal brand to others. Here are a few simple places to start:
- Brush up your resume and LinkedIn profile
- Practice talking about yourself, your past work, and what you have to offer
- Consider creating an online portfolio of your work
- Ask former coworkers or classmates for LinkedIn reviews or testimonials for your online portfolio
- Buckle down and write a personal brand statement
How to Write a Personal Brand Statement
Your personal brand statement should be a 1-2 sentence declaration that explains:
- The unique value you bring to the table
- Who benefits from it
- How they benefit
When you’re on your first attempt, don’t worry about making it perfect. Just write something. Write lots of things. Do a brain dump. You can always edit, delete, and refine it later.
If you’re having trouble finding the right words, try one of these templates:
- I help [someone] to get [what they want] through [your unique skill set, education, background, etc.].
- I am a [adjective] [your profession] with [your unique skill set, education, background, etc.] who helps [someone] to get [what they want].
Here’s an example: “I am a certified financial planner with 10 years of experience helping retirees in the Portland area get more out of life through sound, strategic investment planning.”
Keep in mind that your personal brand statement should be able to follow you anywhere. It can go at the top of your resume or your online portfolio. You can even say it in an interview, which is one of your biggest opportunities to demonstrate your personal brand.
How to Brand Yourself in an Interview
Job interviews can be tricky when it comes to personal branding. You have such a detailed and rich story to tell, but you only have a short amount of time to make a first impression. On top of that, you may be nervous.
Having a personal brand statement ready is a great starting point. But in order to really position yourself well, you need to know what the company’s goals are and how you can contribute. Preparation is key to a successful interview, so spend some time researching the company beforehand.
A few more tips:
- Dress in a way that’s appropriate for the situation and that communicates your work ethic.
- Shake hands firmly (but not aggressively) with the interviewer.
- Be prepared to answer behavioral interview questions. (Virtual interview practice is great for this!)
- Be ready to talk about your failures and weaknesses, and how you’re learning/improving.
- Don’t talk negatively about someone you’ve worked with in the past.
- Remember: you’re there to evaluate the company too. This knowledge can help you feel more assertive and less nervous.
- Be prepared to ask your own questions at the end of the interview.
- If you’re nervous, breathe slowly from your stomach.
- Don’t be afraid of silence. If you’ve thoroughly answered the question and you don’t have more to say, resist the urge to fill the empty space.
- Follow up with a thank-you note after the interview.
Ready to start building a stellar personal brand?
At Rush Recruiting & HR, we help job seekers build their personal brands and reach their career goals through resume development, interview training, career planning, and more.
If you’re interested in customized, professional help building your personal brand, get in touch with us today.