At the center of your being you have the answer: you know who you are and you know what you want.Lao Tzu
The first time I learned about building a personal brand was my last year of college. My communication-department senior seminar class was focused on preparing us for the “real world.”
How to write resumes. How to prepare ourselves for the full-time job that is job-seeking. How to stand out. How could we stand out?
You could undoubtedly teach an entire course on personal branding alone, but I got more than a few takeaways from my class. I was inspired to redesign my resume – unafraid, for the first time, to use pops of color and infographics – and ordered a stack of custom-branded thank-you cards.
With my purple accents and clean, sans-serif font, I hoped to portray a little bit of my personality to my potential employers. And this was the first time I’d ever learned that this was okay.
After a few years and spending time in the branding industry, it’s clear steps like those are crucially important. At the same time, they only scratch the surface.
The word “brand” itself can sometimes be seen with less-than-positive connotations. In an era where social media has transformed into more than just human-to-human interactions, there are of course examples of brands trying to connect with consumers and missing the boat completely. These can give off an air of inauthenticity.
But your personal brand is another matter entirely. The best part about it is that it’s 100% YOU. As a positive, creative person with so much to offer to the world, you can’t possibly be anything other than authentic.
Showing your personality is not the professional faux-pas that most of us were taught to believe at one point or another. Personal branding is about turning the essence of you – your skills, your experiences, your passions – into a distinct professional image.
So you can start with the resume – don’t worry, we can help you! But a robust personal-brand presence includes consistency across multiple digital touchpoints: a website/portfolio, blog, a logo, social media, and even your LinkedIn profile and bio.
When starting to think about your personal brand, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
What is my passion?
What is my story?
What are my values?
What 3 words would I want to be associated with?
Who do I want to attract?
What can I offer?
What differentiates me?
Am I following my bliss?
What message do I want to send?
As we say here at Brieffin: Your brand is your message. People will encounter your brand before they ever meet you. This is your opportunity to send them a message. What do you want that message to be?
It’s a lot to think about, to be sure.
But this isn’t something you have to do alone. Personal branding just so happens to be one of our passions, and if you need us – a lot or a little – we’re here.
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“Calm down, now stop and breathe a second; go back to the very beginning.” – Glass Animals (Agnes from How To Be A Human Being)
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