Do you struggle to describe your value in a job interview or to potential clients? Are you unsure how to land your dream job by leveraging your brand? Regardless of the current economic climate, it’s vitally important for job seekers to understand their unique value proposition and be able to develop that into a branding statement. Your branding statement can then be easily translated into your elevator pitch, your cover letter, LinkedIn profile and other forms of marketing. Personal branding will help you feel more confident and help you stand out from the crowd. It can be difficult to communicate your brand effectively, so here are 10 tips to help you get started.
What’s a Personal Brand?
A personal brand is a statement that should include a combination of your skills, your work experience, your values, how you stand out from your peers in your industry and the results you achieve for your customers and company because of this unique combination of strengths and experiences. Including all of these factors in your branding statement will make it more comprehensive. Then you can use these different elements for any personal marketing opportunity, from job interviews to online networking events.
Identify Your Key Skills
To get started, review your resume and your professional accomplishments. Identify the skills and experiences that you have to offer to a potential employer or client, including any you’ve gained outside of work, too. To help you identify your skills, interview friends and colleagues about what you do better than anyone else they know. They may help you identify things that you might overlook. Write all their responses down.
Clarify Your Values
To identify your personal values, think about things that are essential to your life. You can also think about a peak life experience and identify what about it made you feel happy and successful. Once you have identified your personal values, which ones enhance your personal brand? For example, if loyalty is an important value to you, this could enhance your personal brand by communicating how you will work with an organization or client. Write down all of your personal values and make a note of the ones that help show what you bring to a potential employer or client.
Identify Your Unique Value Proposition
Essentially, your unique value proposition is what makes you different from other professionals in your field. This could include things such as your personality, soft skills, your education and experience.
To help you identify your unique value proposition, take a look at five to seven profiles of other professionals in your industry on LinkedIn. They could be inside or outside of your network. What combination of skills and work experiences do you bring to an employer that most professionals don’t? Write down all your ideas.
Pinpoint Your Results
Similar to your resume, your personal brand should let others know the results you deliver due to your unique value proposition. Again, looking through your resume and professional accomplishments is a great way to pinpoint your results. Write down your measurable results and determine what they have in common.
[Read: How to Change Careers.]
When crafting your personal brand, it’s important to be authentic. If your brand isn’t authentic, it won’t work. You won’t feel motivated to use it, and others won’t be totally convinced when you do. While you do want your personal brand to sound professional, it’s important to use language that matches your personality as well. Make it sound natural. This part of creating your personal brand may take some time until it sounds natural, but don’t get discouraged. Keep working at it.
Share Your Brand
Once you have your personal brand crafted, it’s time to start sharing it with your network and clients. You can include your personal brand on your resume, in your email signature line, on your LinkedIn profile and your portfolio. The more you use your brand, the more natural it will become to you.
Craft Your Elevator Pitch
It’s also important to get comfortable with vocalizing your personal brand. This is where an elevator pitch comes in. This is a shortened version of your personal brand and should only last 12-20 seconds; the length of an elevator ride. Your elevator pitch should include three elements: your target audience, what you deliver and how it benefits your audience, and an element that grabs your listener’s attention. This can be a few personal details that help your listener connect with you. Once you have prepared your elevator pitch, ask your close friends or family members for feedback. You should be able to recite your elevator pitch from memory, so practice it until it feels natural.
Once you have identified your personal brand, it’s important to build credibility in your profession. One way to do this is by sharing your expertise with others. This could be writing articles on LinkedIn or industry magazines, giving back to your alumni center or participating in industry networking events. Another way to do this is by regularly asking for testimonials or recommendations on LinkedIn. Depending on your profession, it may also make sense to create an online portfolio where others can easily view your greatest accomplishments.
Find a Mentor
A mentor can help you to stay on track with your career goals and help you continue to build your brand. Ideally, this is someone who has successfully built their own brand. They can give you insight into the strengths you need to cultivate and the goals you should set to continue to build your brand. Think about someone you would like to ask to be a mentor, let them know what you admire about them, and ask them if they would be willing to help you cultivate a particular skill or goal. Even if the person declines, you can still learn from them by being observant.
Review and Revise Periodically
Your values and accomplishments will most likely change over time, so it’s good to periodically review your personal brand. Does it still feel authentic? Does it represent you accurately? Adjust it as needed. Having and actively using a personal brand will help you find purpose and deeper meaning in your life and career.
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Update 12/20/21: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.