Personal branding is the process of promoting a public perception of you as an authority in your field. A strong personal brand differentiates you from your competitors and increases your credibility. To boost your career, you need to develop a strong personal brand.
The process of branding involves defining your value proposition (what you offer that makes you unique) and building a credible reputation from it.
Wondering how you can effectively use personal branding to reach your career goals? In this article, we’ll give you 8 personal branding tips to boost your career.
Let’s get started.
8 Personal Branding Tips
1. Answer the Question “Who Am I?”
The first step in building a strong personal brand is identifying who you are. Your personal brand should be a clear representation of who you are both personally and professionally.
You need to identify your strengths, weaknesses, skills, and talents before you can build a strong personal brand.
Ask yourself the following questions to get started:
- What are the qualities that make you unique?
- What motivates you?
- In which areas do you have expertise?
- What are some adjectives that describe you?
- What is your ideal career?
- What are your deepest values?
Answering these questions will help you identify your value proposition.
Your value proposition is the statement that answers why people should do business with you. It’s what makes you attractive to employers.
Tip: Your value proposition won’t remain the same throughout your career. It will change as your career grows. Your personal brand should be flexible. That is, as you reach new heights in your career, your personal brand should evolve to meet your new career goals.
2. Determine Your Target Audience
Before building your personal brand, you need to identify your target audience. Who are you are trying to reach? Answering this will help you build a suitable value proposition, which should appeal to your target audience.
If you want to build a career in digital marketing, your value proposition must be attractive to the companies and recruiters in that industry. You will have to build professional skills suitable for the marketing industry. Identifying your target audience will make it easy to build a personal brand that connects with them.
Tip: Avoid targeting too wide an audience. To become an expert or thought leader, it’s best to choose a niche within your industry that you’ll focus on. For example, instead of targeting the marketing industry in general, narrow it down to a specific area. Perhaps content marketing or search engine optimization (SEO). You’ll be able to advance your career faster when you have a specific focus.
3. Grow Your Online Presence
As a professional, it is important to have a strong online presence, a key part of your personal brand.
Your online presence is defined by how easily people can find you online. This is important for building your brand reputation. When recruiters search for your name on Google and social media, what information comes up?
It should be easy for people to find detailed information about you online. But you should also monitor and control this information. Negative mentions of your name online can spoil your personal branding. Use Google alerts to get notifications whenever your name or brand is mentioned anywhere on the Internet.
Tips to Bolster Your Online Presence
- Build a website and online portfolio. Every personal brand needs a website or online portfolio. Your website will detail all your skills and highlight your past work.
- Be active on social media. It’s important to have an active social media presence. Platforms like LinkedIn will help you connect with the professionals in your industry. Create a strong social media profile that aligns with your career goals. While LinkedIn is the primary social network for professionals, don’t neglect Facebook and Twitter. More specifically, don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want people in your industry seeing.
- Consider starting a podcast. A podcast can be an effective way to position yourself as a thought leader and build your personal brand. Further, it can help you become an authority in your field, establish your expertise, and build trust with your target audience. The best thing about podcasts is that they are inexpensive to create and share. There are several cheap podcast hosting platforms you can try out.
4. Network Effectively
To effectively build your personal brand, you will need to gain exposure. You can gain exposure and recognition through networking. Networking will help you build connections and gain credibility in your industry.
Not only will networking help you build your personal brand, but it will also advance your career. Research has shown that 85% of jobs are filled through networking instead of the regular recruiting process. So, if you’re job hunting, networking will improve your chances of getting a job.
You can start by maintaining an active LinkedIn presence. LinkedIn is the best social media platform for networking.
Tip: Make it a point to regularly attend networking events related to your industry. You can use networking sites like Meetup to find events happening around you.
5. Use Professional Recommendations to Your Advantage
One of the easiest ways to build your personal brand is by leveraging recommendations from your colleagues and employers (both former and current). Just as brands use reviews and testimonials from customers to build their brand image, you can use professional recommendations to boost your personal brand.
Not sure who you should ask for recommendations?
The best people to ask for recommendations are those you’ve worked with directly and recently, so start your outreach there. These people know your strengths and experience, so they’ll be more willing to advocate for you.
6. Become an Expert in Your Industry
Being identified as a thought leader or expert will boost your personal brand and increase your credibility.
How to Become an Expert in Your Industry
- Speak about your industry. Speaking about your industry will help you showcase your expertise. Speaking at events will increase your recognition and also improve your personal brand. You can start small by speaking at luncheon meetings, workshops, and local conferences.
- Start writing. You can portray yourself as a thought leader by creating valuable content that people in your industry will appreciate. One of the best ways to do this is by starting your own blog. Create a blog where you author thought pieces, industry analysis, and case studies. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating a blog, you can contribute to high-profile publications in your industry. Many publications actively seek guest authors to share their experience.
- Maintain a strong social media presence. Another way you can become an expert is by building a strong social media presence. You can use your social media to build a loyal following. It takes time to build, but by sharing content that delivers value, you can build a strong brand on social media.
7. Be Consistent
It’s important that your personal brand and value proposition remain consistent both offline and online. To be consistent, it’s best to have a specific career focus. It’s much easier to build a personal brand when you are working toward a specific goal.
Inconsistency in your personal branding reduces its efficiency in boosting your career. For example, you need to have a consistent bio and display image across all your social media profiles. People should be able to easily identify you and your brand online.
Tip: Your communication, appearance, and messaging should be consistent across the board.
8. Follow the Examples of Thought Leaders in Your Industry
When you’re building your personal brand, it’s a best practice to learn from the thought leaders and experts in your industry.
As you start your career, research the experts that have already made names for themselves in that niche. Find out what steps they took to get to where they are. Connect with them on LinkedIn, attend events where they will be speaking, read their interviews, and consider other outreach approaches.
Researching these important people in your industry will help you create a template that you can use in building your personal brand. To get to the top, you need to survey the people who are already there.
For a successful career in any field, it’s important to build a strong personal brand. What you should note is that personal branding is a long-term project. Your personal brand will evolve as your career grows every year.
In short, here are the keys to successful personal branding:
- Determine your career goals
- Identify your target audience
- Grow your online presence
- Network effectively
- Leverage recommendations
- Become an industry expert
- Remain consistent in your brand messaging
- Learn from the experts in your field
Which of these tips will you implement in your personal branding strategy?