Build Your Personal Brand

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Why do you need a personal brand you ask?

“Developing your brand makes you a more valuable asset, whether to the company you work for, a potential employer, or your own enterprise,” says Dan Schawbel, author of the book Me 2.0.

“Personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to others,” Schawbel explains.

By building a personal brand, you show the world who you are professionally. You define your goals and strengths, and you develop strategies to communicate these to others. It’s a perfect way to begin a job search, establish your professional expertise or expand your professional network.

Ready to decide what your brand looks like? Here are seven tips to get you started:

1.  Plan your brand

• Your goals and objectives: What do you want to be known for?
• Your audience: Who should know about you?
• Your tactics: How do you plan to communicate your brand to your audience?
• Your desired outcome: Job leads? increased business exposure?

2.  Determine what makes you unique

• Write a list of your strengths and qualities such as: hard-working, happy, energetic, etc.
• Answer the questions, “What distinguishes me from the crowd?” and “What do I want to be known for?”

3.  Establish your expertise

• List your job skills and experience.
• Seek opportunities to earn credibility. For instance, contribute to a publication, teach a class at a local college and take on speaking engagements about your area of expertise.

4.  Freshen up your online presence

• Edit your social media profiles to remove vulgar and/or profane content. When in doubt, delete!
• Wear appropriate or professional attire in images.
• Use an attractive headshot.
• Familiarize yourself with the privacy features of your social media platforms.

5.  Use social media to promote your brand

• Facebook: Share content that relates to your personal brand, keep your profile and pages “clean” and understand privacy settings.
• Twitter: Create a Twitter resume or a “Twesume”
In the article “How a 140-Character Twitter Resume Could Land Your Next Job” at mashable.com, Sean Weinberg offers the following Twesume example: “Santa Claus: World traveler and toy expert. 300+ years management experience. Looking for position in entertainment industry.” You can also tweet using #twesume.
• LinkedIn: Endorse others, follow and contribute your expertise to groups that relate to your field.
• YouTube: Create a 30-60 second video resume to allow hiring managers to see who you are and how you speak.

6.  Take social media to the next level

• Instagram: Take a picture, filter it and share it with friends and family. Showcase your interests, through images and hashtags and “pin” Instagram images on Pinterest boards.
• Pinterest: A visual communication tool, which uses virtual pin boards to showcase the various
aspects of one’s personality through images of interests, expertise and style.
• Tumblr: Use tumblr’s blogging platform to share your resume with hiring managers. For an example see toddsresume.tumblr.com.
• Create a visual resume that looks like an infographic. For an example see vizualresume.com.

7.  Face-to-face counts too!

Don’t forget to perfect your personal brand for in-person encounters, including:

• Create business cards that highlight how one can connect with you via your social media sites and add links or a Quick Response “QR” code to your website/resume.
• Create a compelling “elevator speech” or “elevator pitch,” which tells people about yourself and/or your company in about 30 seconds or less. Prepare, practice and present!

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