A personal brand highlights your skills, values, and passions, your specialist role or sector, and how you differ from others. And just like in marketing, a strong brand creates a consistent, targeted impression and makes it easier for others to recognise your value.
As Jeff Bezos has said, ‘Your personal brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room.’ Your brand, therefore, is an accumulation of impressions, experience and expectations that people hold about you. If you do not actively control the narrative, others’ perceptions of you may be incorrect and your value less than clear, worse you may just be ‘unknown’.
To develop your brand, think about statements that best describe you in the workplace - who you are and what you offer - your strengths, values and motivations - the ‘authentic you’.
Some key things to consider when developing your personal brand:
- think about what you have achieved to date and why – what attributes have you developed and honed in your career journey – what technical skills have you mastered or what specific leadership skills make you stand out?
- use adjectives and other descriptors that accurately describe your skills and experience and try and avoid tired and overused phrases
- think about what others have said about you in the past – does your view of yourself match past feedback or is there a disconnect between your desired brand image and your true self? If there are gaps, how could you fill them?
Most importantly be specific, be genuine, be consistent and be memorable.
Once you have developed your personal brand, consider how best to communicate it and through which channels. It’s all about visibility, so use a mix of media (presentations, articles and video), connect with contacts to become advocates, participate in industry specific opportunities to grow your network, and build your profile through online and social media.
Maintaining and enhancing your personal brand should continue throughout your career, so review and refresh as you move jobs.
Finally, become a storyteller; weave a consistent narrative around your key attributes and history, your motivations and aspirations, and create meaningful dialogue when asked the question ‘So, tell me about yourself’.
Harvard Business Review, May-June 2023, A New Approach to Building Your Personal Brand, Jill Avery and Rachel Greenwald,
Forbes, Nov 2018, 10 Golden Rules of Personal Branding, Goldie Chan