What makes a Personal Brand?
Anything connected to your name online and offline makes up your personal brand; it is the image you project, your behaviour, your body language, your values, your personality, skills, and experiences. It is your online presence and online activity. It is your email address, your CV, your personal statements on job applications - the list goes on. Taken altogether, these can help you make a positive impression that tells an employer they should hire you. Your personal brand needs to be consistent wherever it shows up. What are you sharing with the world?
Why you need to start building build yours now
Kick-starting your career might seem miles away right now, but you will be surprised how quickly time flies by and before you know it, you are in your final year, getting ready to leave University with a degree along with thousands of other graduates looking for graduate jobs. Your future self will really thank you for the work you put in now. Building a personal brand will boost your career success because it will help you stand out from the crowd, opening new opportunities for you and helping you build connections that will help advance your career. Ignoring your personal brand means letting other people make assumptions about who you are and what you are capable. When it comes to your career, you want to be in the driving seat, not a passenger.
Working it out
Start by reflecting on the following: Firstly: who are you, what are you studying? Secondly: what it is that you do better than anyone else you know? What comes easy to you? What are you known for by your friends and family? What are the values you live by? What are you enthusiastic about? What do you stand for? Thirdly: What are your goals for your career? Pull it all together into a short statement this is your secret sauce- your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) the thing that makes your Personal Brand shine.
Bringing your Personal Brand message to life through Storytelling
Storytelling, more than dry facts and statistics, can make you memorable and help you build rapport, allowing you to communicate your skills, your fit for a job, your values, expertise, and your resilience. What mini stories can you share that convey what makes you unique and the value add you can bring to the table? Everyone has these stories, start from where you are and focus on the transferable skills they have helped you develop and highlight your impact. You can use these mini stories in CVs as achievements, in interviews, job applications and when networking. The STAR approach is a great framework for these.
Communicating your personal brand
First get clear on who your audience is, the channels they use and what you want them to do once they have heard your brand message. Next develop a 30-60 second personal elevator pitch you can use to introduce yourself in interviews and when networking. Build your online presence on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. Use social media platforms that resonate with you and what you want to achieve to help you raise your professional visibility, showcase your subject knowledge and expertise, network and make industry connections. You can also blog, vlog, run a podcast or build a personal website to share your personal brand.
Your personal brand lets you share your authentic self with the world, not a persona.
Start today! You already have everything you need to begin building a compelling and authentic personal brand which will boost your career and grow and change along with you. How do you want to show up? Are you starting to see the power of your personal brand?