What is a Personal Brand?
Your personal brand is, at its most basic, the picture built of you when someone searches for your name online. It is your visible social media profiles and posts, your images and the things you share. In practice, it is an amalgamation of these things and the professional relationships you build through online networks – or what others make of your skills, actions and online presence altogether. Your personal brand is something you might not think too hard about, but that can have a profound effect on your career if managed correctly. But why is this?
Why is it So Important?
Perhaps the most significant reason you should maintain a personal brand is the increasingly online nature of the business world. Not only does more business take place in digital spaces, but recruiting processes overwhelmingly begin and end online. By having an online footprint, prospective employers will be able to research and investigate that footprint, and will likely make a judgement on your application as a result of what they find. It is also the case that your personal brand could confer its own benefits to the company, especially if you have a positive reputation and following of your own.
Building Your Personal Brand
With some active engagement, you can take control of your personal brand in order to create the best possible results in your professional life. The following represent some simple ways you can approach your personal brand, and shape it to reflect your ambitions more accurately.
Define Your Goals
Firstly, set out what you want to achieve with your personal brand. Do you want to put yourself forward as a diligent and professional worker, or do you want to make a name for yourself as a creative leader?
Moderate Your Social Media Profiles
Your social media profiles may be public, and there may be posts, images or articles you’ve shared that do not reflect your personal brand. By deleting contentious posts and making personal profiles private, you can segment your personal life from your professional one and keep your personal brand clear of confusion.
In order to build your new personal brand, you will want to network with professionals relating to your field. This can be done in both online and offline spaces, but the latter can be surprisingly powerful even with the digitalisation of business.
It’s important not to underestimate the power of physical media in a digital world. A well-placed personalised business card can cement you in a new contact’s mind as a professional, and increase the likelihood of them following you up in online spaces.
Use Professional Platforms Smartly
Speaking of social media, professional platforms like LinkedIn are the perfect place to actively craft your personal brand. By writing short-form editorials as posts, or sharing industry news relevant to your skills and field, you can build a comprehensive image as a knowledgeable contact, standing you in good stead for first meetings with online contacts and new business partners.