With so many people competing for a limited number of jobs, it’s important to be able to stand out from the crowd and offer a unique set of skills and qualities that differentiate you from others in your industry. In this article, we will explain how building a personal brand can help propel your career forward by communicating your unique skills and assets to prospective employers.

What is a Personal Brand?

Your personal brand is an extension of your professional reputation–it’s not only how people think of you, it’s what they think of you. Are you a skilled social media marketer with experience across multiple platforms? Or are you a financial analyst who is as comfortable on a small business expense sheet as you are operating a multimillion dollar budget?

Being able to succinctly communicate the kind of work you do and the kind of employee you are is important because you only have so much space on your resume (or time in an interview) for the hiring manager to get a holistic view of your experience.

Personal Branding Tips to Help Build Professional Success

Now that you know what a personal brand is and why it’s important, you may be wondering how you can improve yours. Consider the tips below to help you start building your personal brand so you can leave a lasting impression with prospective employers.

  1. Define Your Brand Identity

The first step to building your personal brand is to identify your core values and principles. Beyond hiring someone to simply “do the work,” employers want to hire an employee who is passionate about their industry and committed to a strong work ethic. Communicating the “how” or “why” behind your work in the form of a professional statement shows employers you are interested in not only getting a new job but also growing your career in your chosen industry. This professional statement can be displayed on your resume and on your LinkedIn profile–anywhere that employers may see it.

Additionally, all of your professional documents, profiles, and other online activities should align with a consistent brand image. A brand image is the combination of visuals, tone, and language that ultimately represents your personal brand.

Example: if your resume talks about a previous role using certain language, the same role on your LinkedIn profile should reflect that. If your resume possesses any design elements, having those reflected across your cover letter or LinkedIn profile shows employers that you are very intentional about how you communicate with others.

  1. Refine Your Online Presence

You’ve likely heard that you should keep your social media presence free of any unprofessional activity or anything that might look distasteful to employers. While this is wise advice, you don’t need to strip it of all personality and uniqueness. Think of social media as a tool for amplifying your personal brand.

Sharing your work, interacting with other professionals in your industry, and posting the latest updates from your field are all examples of using your social media presence to complement your personal brand. For example, if you are in a creative industry, Instagram can be a great tool to share your visual work such as graphic design, photography, etc.

  1. Connect and Build Relationships

Social media has fundamentally transformed the process of networking. While conferences and trade shows are a great way to make personal connections with others in your industry, you can now speak to and learn from almost anyone in your field–at any time–via the internet. This makes creating connections across several industries and companies much easier.

Additionally, developing networking connections is a great way to expand your personal brand. Introducing yourself to others the way you would introduce yourself to an employer ensures that if anyone is ever to submit a reference for you, they are speaking about the best professional version of yourself.

Creating professional connections through social media or events is the first step; the second is to nurture those connections. LinkedIn is a great way to follow up with someone you met at a networking event. This solidifies the connection, making it much easier to lean on that person for support later and for them to consider you as someone who can support them as well.

  1. Showcase Your Expertise

“Thought leadership” is the concept of becoming a respected authority on a specific subject or field. Thought leaders strive to share their knowledge and experience on a certain subject with the hopes of being considered an authority figure on the matter. Creating thought leadership content is a compelling way to demonstrate your personal brand values and knowledge in a way that is public.

Thought leadership can be completed through all sorts of social media channels, especially LinkedIn. Of course, while LinkedIn is considered the most professional of the social media platforms, there are certainly professional audiences on Instagram and X that you can expand your reach to.

Common thought leadership posts involve sharing your perspective as a professional in your respective industry on the latest news and trends in the field, or posting your tips for dealing with a common problem in your industry.

Sometimes, an online presence as a thought leader can lead to in-person speaking engagements or other events, where your authority as a leader in your field can be further cemented and expanded to a broader audience.

  1. Monitor and Adjust Your Personal Brand

While having central pillars for your personal brand is important, it should also be flexible and change with you as you grow throughout your career. As you begin to participate in new areas of business, shift your focus to include your new audience as well. If you are looking to move into a different industry, sharing news and thought leadership posts about that industry beforehand can make the transition smoother–and attract the attention of new hiring managers.

Social media networks often supply performance metrics for your profile, allowing you to see how many views your post got, how many clicks, your engagement rate, etc. Use this data to inform your strategy. Keep tabs on what’s working (and what’s not) so you can replicate the good stuff and cut out what’s ineffective.

Additionally, as you develop new skills and take on new job duties, your personal brand should reflect these changes. Your online and professional presence should not only demonstrate what you are an expert in; it should demonstrate what you are learning and developing in, also. Learn more about the importance of redefining your skillset in our article “Upskilling vs. Reskilling: Comparing Career Development Approaches.”

Build Your Personal Brand with Intention

Your personal brand is an opportunity to convince your stakeholders (employers, peers, networking contacts, etc.) of your potential. It should be crafted carefully as opposed to being an after effect of unintentional social media activity and networking. If you have hopes of building your personal brand through professional skill development, Denison Edge offers a variety of credential courses in several industries to help you take the next step in your career.

Start browsing our current program offerings today.