While navigating through your collegiate experience, you spend a large portion of your time gaining knowledge that will help you become successful in your career. While knowledge is extremely valuable, one of the most important supplements is an established personal brand. With a clear personal brand, prospective employers or clients can get a sense of exactly who you are, what you bring to the table and can determine whether you are the right fit for their company.
Here are some steps you can take to begin establishing your personal brand! Remember, this is meant to serve as a guide and you have full creative freedom to build your brand in the way YOU want that best represents yourself and your strengths.
- Find your passion
Finding your passion is an important first step in building your brand. Ask yourself questions like: “What gets me out of bed in the morning?”, “When do I feel like my most authentic self?”, “If I could change the world today, what would I do?”
Narrowing in on what you’re passionate about builds a strong foundation for your brand. Even if your passions don’t seem to perfectly align with where you see your career going, think critically about your passions and the desires behind them. By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to learn more about yourself and creative ways to apply your passions to your career. For example, Sally may be extremely passionate about volunteering with her church group to pick up trash on the side of the road on weekends, but during the weekdays, she works as an interior decorator. Reflecting on the driving forces behind her volunteer work, Sally realizes that she is passionate about helping people improve the spaces they live in to encourage happiness, pride, and mental wellbeing.
Through reflecting on your passions, you are paving the way to building a brand that is authentically you.
2. Establish your core values and beliefs
Taking time to think about the core values and beliefs that you hold helps identify ways to implement them into your personal brand and business ventures. A good place to start is writing down these values and beliefs and putting them somewhere you can be easily reminded of them like a sticky note on your desk. Revisiting Sally, some of her core values and beliefs include benefiting others with her work, beautifying her community, honesty, integrity, and having a career she genuinely enjoys.
The more you are reminded of these values and beliefs, the more your actions will align with them, creating consistency, which is an important aspect of a personal brand.
3. What is your Unique Value Proposition?
Defining your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) will set you apart from peers, colleagues and other job candidates. Your UVP is the core benefit that your goods, services or knowledge provide. Your UVP should encompass the direct benefits that you can bring to the table, why you or your business should be chosen over competitors, and how you can resolve any problems a company or client is currently facing. Sally’s UVP is that she builds strong interpersonal relationships with her clients before drafting their design plans in order to create beautiful spaces that are custom fit to her client’s lifestyles. Sally goes above and beyond to make sure that she surpasses the industry standards by spending more time with her clients than her competitors.
Having an established UVP is an easy way to demonstrate to others that you are well-equipped to problem solve, while playing upon your strengths to create innovative solutions that no one else can.
4. Tell A Story
Entrepreneur Seth Godin once said, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” Use your personal brand to tell stories of your successes and value. Telling stories is an essential aspect of a personal brand, as it is one of the ways to build interpersonal relationships, highlight your strengths, and show a company or client who you are.
Telling stories doesn’t have to be literal – for example, you can use your social media to enhance your brand through building consistency across all of your accounts, showcasing different aspects of your personality and creating multiple ways that people are able to connect with you and get a sense of who you are and what you’re about.
5. Be True to Yourself
There is no one way to build your personal brand, and your personal brand should be an accurate representation of YOU! Don’t try to fit into a certain mold because you think it will make you successful; if you’ve taken the time to identify your strengths, passions, values and beliefs, then you are equipped for success when the right opportunity comes along.
I hope you found these tips helpful and easy to implement in your professional development!
Written by: Ashley Baresich