By DeVry University
Imagine you're at a networking event and you're finally getting the opportunity to speak with a representative from your dream company. Exciting, right? But then you hear them say, "Tell me about yourself." Your mind starts racing and you're thinking, "Where should I start? What do they want to know about me? What should I tell them?"
But then you remember, you've been working on building your personal brand, and you're prepared for this. You start the conversation with your elevator pitch and you're off to the races.
If you've ever felt unprepared in a similar situation and you've been wondering how to build a personal brand or even improve your existing one, we have you covered. In the following video you’ll learn the benefits of having a solid personal brand, how to create one and more.
Branding isn't just for companies anymore. Building your personal brand gives you an opportunity to showcase who you are, an opportunity to show how you stand out. As professionals, we have stories to tell. We have experiences and skills that we want to share with others. Today we'll cover best practices you can use right now in order to learn how to build your personal brand for use in networking events as well as on social platforms.
Meet the Presenter
My name is Jennifer Macadlo and I'm a member of the human resources team at DeVry University and again, it's my pleasure to be with you today. I'd like you to take a moment and think about the favorite place that you stop to get coffee, the brand of shoes that you wear, the hotel that you choose to book for business travel or personal vacation travel. How do each of those things, those places make you feel?
What is a Personal Brand?
A personal brand does this for others. It's a set of statements that communicates who you are, what you stand for inside the workplace and outside of it. Borrowed from the marketing world, personal branding reflects your reputation – it's your story. And in order to create a personal brand, if you don't have one already, you will need to take some time for personal reflection, which we will discuss a little bit later.
Benefits of a Solid Personal Brand
There are benefits that you will experience from a solid personal brand. Let's break it down to just three.
- Builds Credibility: When you go through the process of creating your brand, you gain confidence in who you are, and you lead with that confidence in all that you do. People who interact with you see this confidence, trust this confidence, they trust you. Your personal brand is what people experience of you. So, it's important to build a strong, positive personal brand, what you're known for so that people come back to experience you again and again.
- Creates Connections: When others' experience of you adds value to their life, to their business or their client's business, others will speak volumes of your contributions and you'll be recognized for what you bring to the table. When networking, you'll use your personal brand to strengthen connections and set the stage for future personal business relationships that benefit both parties for your new connections, again, to remember you.
- Opens Opportunities: When you know who you are, your skills, your areas of expertise, when you know those specialties, you can better articulate your value and create career opportunities and certainly other opportunities to get to know others.
How to Build a Personal Brand
So, whether you're going to build your personal brand for job opportunities, to advertise your skills and your abilities, or perhaps to gain an opportunity for a speaking engagement, you will need to take a moment or two to answer a few questions for yourself: Who are you? What do you value? What makes you truly happy and brings you energy?
Now, as you're going through this exercise of answering these questions, I do suggest that you either write them down or type them out. That alone gets these ideas out of your head.
- Determine Your Strengths and What Makes You Unique
So again, who are you? What makes you unique? Your skills, your talents, your professional affiliations, perhaps philanthropic or volunteer activities are really big in your life. Maybe you're on a neighborhood beautification committee. It all matters.
Also, create a list of your strengths. Create a list of the projects and initiatives that you're most proud of, that you had an opportunity to contribute to. Then, how do you prove that? What's the evidence of your accomplishments, the impact that you've made?
- Identify Your Goal
Next, what is the goal of personal branding? What are your short-term and long-term goals for your branding strategy? Again, is it to land a new job, a speaking engagement, or simply to keep your brand fresh? Once you identify your goal, then home in on who your audience will be. It'll be certainly easier for you to tell your story.
So, for example, if you're trying to attract talent acquisition professionals, then you may decide to start with your social media profile, your resume. If a contact reached out to you to ask you to showcase your background in a philanthropic newsletter, then you may want a dust off that biography. Begin to create one if you don't have one already.
Perhaps you'll be attending a networking event. In this case, you'll think through your elevator pitch and a few key points about yourself that you'd like to share. When you identify your goal and your audience, then it's easier to begin to create this story.
- Talk to Your Contacts
And also, who can help you? Ask your trusted advisors, your mentors, your friends and family to share their impression of you, how they would describe you. Ask friends and family about times they've spent with you. What are their best memories? These personal stories will help you understand how you impact others.
Drafting Your Statement (Elevator Pitch)
It's important to note that your personal brand is in fact going to change over time. It's going to evolve just like you evolve as a person. It will change just like your career changes.
The next step should be to discuss your audience. Think about the audience that you're going after, so then you can build out that social profile, the bio page, portfolio, or prepare for networking events.
I'm a (description of role) who brings (personal attribute), (personal attribute) and (personal attribute) to (benefit to Company).
Where Does Your Personal Brand Exist?
So where does this brand exist? We've talked a lot about networking events, social profiles. Well, it exists in those documents, both digitally, as well as those documents that are in paper.
And also keep in mind that your brand, your personal brand exists in blog posts or online conversations that you may engage in.
Remember, your personal brand doesn't simply exist in digital format. It truly is how you show up, how you connect and interact with others. It's how you treat people. It's how you are known in and outside of the workplace.
Now that you know what a personal brand statement is, why personal branding is important and how to create it, remember, your brand is your story. Your brand is truly you. It's all of our experiences and our connections. Keep in mind just how interconnected we are. The impact that you leave on others, other colleagues, friends and family. No matter if you're online or in person. So, I ask you, what's your headline going to be?