What’s A Personal Brand And Why Do You Need One?

When you think about personal branding, a few questions might come to mind: What is a personal brand? Why do I need to develop my personal brand? How do I create a personal brand? Of course, you don't really create" a personal brand. You already have one.

What Can Influence Your Personal Brand?

Don't believe me? Google your name followed by your hometown.

If you have a Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, your name probably comes up on the first page. Perhaps you have more social media profiles. Maybe you've recently been mentioned in a local news article.

All of these things are part of your personal brand. Scary? Get over it. It's already out there and you can't do anything about it. What you can do is manage your personal brand so what people see about you is what you want them to see.

The History Of Personal Branding

Young man outlines his personal brand

Personal branding was popularized by an article by Tom Peters first published in Fast Company Magazine ("A Brand Called You") over 20 years ago.

He starts out the article by writing, "Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."

How Do You Create A Personal Brand?

Young woman talks during a work meeting

When I read that 20 years ago, I implicitly knew he was right but I didn't understand how a person could go about creating their own personal brand.

The only brands I knew of were huge corporations with hefty advertising and marketing budgets. What could a lone individual do to create their own personal brand?

Then along came the internet, and social networking, and web 2.0, and Google, and then blogs, Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other applications entered the scene and made it virtually impossible for anyone to keep from creating a personal brand, whether they wanted to or not.

How To Effectively Manage Your Personal Brand

Woman manages her personal brand

Here are a few things you can do to manage your personal brand.

1. Make Your Personal Brand Clear

Be clear about the image you intend to project. If you have more than one message, you run the risk of confusing people about what you are all about.

2. Make Your Personal Brand Consistent

Make certain your brand message is consistent across all platforms. For instance, your resume and LinkedIn profile must be in sync.

3. Back Up Statements In Your Personal Brand

Back up any broad statements with objective proof via quantifiable information. Show numbers of what you have done to back up your claims.

4. Keep Your Personal Brand Short, Sweet, And To The Point

Your personal brand isn't your life story. Keep it brief. Can you state your value proposition in 10 words or less? If not, you run the risk of being forgettable—the death knell of any brand.

Having a great personal brand will help you stand out from others and make you more marketable as a job candidate. Knowing who you are, what your goals are, and what message you want to send to employers is crucial for keeping up in the competitive job search.

Do you need help crafting your personal brand?

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.