Developing Your Personal Brand

By: Christy Eichelberger - Christy's Corner

Branding plays a vital role in selling a product or service. Just as companies put a great deal of effort into branding their products, job seekers need to be aware of how they brand themselves, too. Your personal brand says a great deal about you, and, whether you know it or not, can have an incredible impact on your career.

What is a personal brand? Wikipedia defines personal branding as “the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands.” You likely have already developed a personal brand, whether you know it or not. Your personal brand is derived from your personality, your knowledge and experience, your accomplishments and your work ethic, and sometimes even your physical appearance. Who you are, and who others know you to be, is the personal brand you present.

What does your personal brand say about you? Does it say that you’re a hard worker? That you’re someone who does whatever it takes to get the job done? Or is your personal brand that you’re an expert on a particular subject matter or that you’re recognized for a specific accomplishment in your career?

Once you take the time to really think about and identify your personal brand, you can begin to actively manage it. Reinforce it through consistency in your message. If your brand is that you’re an expert on a certain subject, make sure you demonstrate this expertise every chance you get. Make it known in your daily life as well as in your online presence. Those who know you personally should know your brand as well as others who you have never met.

Whatever the message, it’s important to be consistent with it. Developing a brand takes time, and you have to stick with it. Part of having a brand is in having people know what to expect of you, so consistency in this is imperative. When people hear or read your name, what do they think of? This is your brand.

In the past, people’s ability to develop a personal brand was much more limited than it is today. Today’s technology enables you to reach virtually anyone, anywhere. In addition to the brand you present through personal interactions, you can get your brand out there through websites, blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. You can use Twitter to help perpetuate your brand. Be consistent in the way you present yourself and the type of information you share, and people will know what to expect when they hear your name. They will recognize your brand and will be interested in following what you have to share.

Your personal brand can be whatever you make of it. If your brand is simply that you’re a dedicated worker, you can show this through your resume, references and job performance. If you want your personal brand to be much bigger than that, you can grow it through careful management and consistency in your message. It can help get you hired and can help you grow professionally. Your personal brand isn’t something you have to consciously create, but is something that is established over time and can be nurtured and cultivated to grow into whatever you want it to be.