5 tips for building your personal brand
By Lilia Ortiz
June 1, 2021 • 5 minute read
At a glance
- Your personal brand is unique to you and is based on your specific accomplishments and skills.
- Consider how you want to present yourself to the professional world when building your personal brand. This identity can set you apart from the competition when promoting yourself.
- Building a personal brand takes time. Be patient when curating your audience and craft a mission statement that resonates with them.
- If you need help building your personal brand, download our step-by-step Personal Branding Guide, which includes additional tips.
How to build your personal brand
Who are you? Your reply to that question might be your name, your job title or a role like “mom” or “student.” While those are all valid answers, they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building your personal brand.
Personal branding is based on your unique skills and experiences and is the professional image you present to the world. According to The Conversation, a network of not-for-profit media outlets, a personal brand relies on seven key attributes that provide a model for an individual to construct an identity that can set them apart in a highly competitive job market. They are:
Standing out among a sea of applicants might have you wanting to dive right in and start working on your personal brand, but building one takes time, intention and plenty of patience. Here are five tips for building your personal brand.
Still not sure how to start creating your personal brand? For more tips, read our Career Services Guides Re-Imagine-Personal Branding Guide.
1. Embrace your uniqueness
In the world of personal branding, you’re the product. The thought of marketing yourself can feel foreign at first, but when you consider that you’re paid for your experience and skills, it makes sense that you would want to promote yourself to potential employers.
To start, think about what makes you great. What about you stands out? What are your best qualities? Are you creative? Reliable? Outspoken? If you’re stumped, imagine what your best friend would say if he or she were asked to describe you.
Another great way to define yourself is to consider what you would enjoy doing even if you weren’t getting paid. This allows you to visualize the bigger picture without a job or an industry limiting you. Additionally, identifying the qualities of individuals you find most inspiring can help you further pinpoint your core brand attributes.
2. What do you want?
Of course, a large part of your personal branding should be based on your professional goals. Consider what you want out of your career. There are no wrong answers here. You might want to go into an industry that allows for remote work or gives you a strong sense of purpose. Maybe you just want a higher salary.
If you’re employed, you also want to determine what you currently lack in your career. Do you want the opportunity to be more creative? Are you ready to move into a leadership position? Find out what’s missing and go from there.
While all these goals are great, you’ll also need to build the right relationships to move forward. Read our career guide on strategic networking, which includes helpful information on establishing a professional network. And, if you’re interested in learning how to use LinkedIn to network, this guide can be a valuable tool, as well.
Be honest with yourself, and don’t be afraid to dream big during this process. This lofty list of wants will serve as the foundation for your personal brand.
3. What do they want?
Now that you’ve established what you want, you’ll need to consider what your audience wants. Your personal brand should attract the right people, but who are they? To identify your target audience, you’ll need to do some research.
Start by reaching out to people in the industry you’re interested in and asking them questions about it. This is when an established network can be helpful. You can also attend networking events to get a feel for the people and companies you’re interested in working with. Take note of their needs and challenges, as this will come in handy when determining how you can add value.
In its article “10 Golden Rules Of Personal Branding,” Forbes suggests that once you know where you fit in with your target audience, you want to stay focused and not try to be “everything to everyone.” Having a clear message of who you are and what value you can bring to a potential employee will make it “easier to both create content around your personal brand and have others define you.”
Need additional career support? Visit the University of Phoenix YouTube channel to hear 5 tips for building your personal brand from UOPX career advisor Carla Hunter.
4. Define your mission
Speaking of defining yourself, mission statements aren’t just for businesses. They’re also an excellent way for individuals to communicate their value as an employee.
A mission statement is a single sentence that explains who your target audience is, what you’re all about as a professional and your desired outcome, which your experience, education and skills should support. If you need additional help writing a mission statement, check out our guide on personal branding for examples.
The more specific you are with your niche, the more you’ll stand out. Just make sure you stay true to yourself and focus on what it is you’re passionate about.
5. Start your promotion strategy
Just like with any product on the market, you’ll have to promote yourself to gain traction. Start by Googling yourself to evaluate your online exposure.
It’s common not to get any hits. It’s also not unusual to have top search results that don’t align with your personal brand. But what if you’re concerned that what’s showing up could keep employers from hiring you? In that case, it’s wise to consider hiring a reputation manager who can work with you to clean up your online presence.
After you’ve vetted your online presence, it’s time to start your promotion strategy. There are many ways to start promoting your personal brand online, including completing a LinkedIn profile and creating a personal website. Here are some great examples of personal brand websites that make an impact.
No matter your career goals, having a personal brand can elevate your online presence and help you stand out. Furthermore, personal branding allows you to sell your story to your audience (letting you control the narrative) and can even give you the chance to make a name for yourself in your chosen industry.
In other words, go ahead and tell the world what you’re all about!
Active University of Phoenix students and graduates have a team of career advisors eager to help them take that next step. Learn more about Career Services for Life™ commitment.