How to build a strategic personal brand 👩🏻💻Sep 09, 2022
How to build a personal brand
One of my FAVE topics of all time is personal branding which is why I’ve decided to dedicate an entire blog post to it! You wouldn't believe how many incredibly talented, ambitious, high-achieving people come to me who can't articulate their personal brand, but have done really well in their careers so far…
It’s such a classic case of ‘what got you here won't get you there’ because having a strategic and intentional personal brand is SO key to attracting insane career opportunities and stepping up as the leader that you are. Having a suite of marketing collateral including a resume, cover letter, and optimised LinkedIn profile that's aligned, stands out, and attracts the right kind of attention will literally change the game!
As Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, famously said “Branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room” which can be your technical skills or your personality, it can be your working style or your communication skills, and so on. A personal brand in this context is very much a holistic picture of you professionally. This is not a question of IF you have a brand - you absolutely have a personal brand. You've got things that people are thinking about you. That's human nature. All of us have that. But the question is, are you just leaving it to chance? Or are you strategically stepping up, taking ownership of it, and shaping those conversations?
That is what I like to call strategic personal branding and that's what I want to walk you through in this article! I’m going to cover how to assess your current personal brand and then design a personal brand that works for you going forward. Let’s get into it!
Personal branding 101
Step one in establishing a strategic personal brand is understanding how others see you. If you asked five people who work with you on a regular basis (i.e. your manager, colleagues, clients, internal stakeholders), what would they say about you?
If you're getting stuck, I want you to think about how you view other people, such as “I just know that I can give anything to [X person] and they’re going get it done and it's going to be top quality.”
Now, if you were to leave a room and people were discussing you - what do you think they’d be saying? It’s about being as honest as possible - that's just the current reality. You could also think about the feedback you've received from managers, internal stakeholders, and clients - perhaps some emails that you've received or some feedback or a formal performance review. For example, think about your team in general, what do they tend to rely on you for? What do they come to you for and how might they describe you to another colleague?
It’s important to reflect on this kind of feedback and insight before you can even begin to curate your new personal brand - everyone’s got to start from somewhere!
Google yourself to identify your current personal brand
The next thing I want you to do to assess your current reality is Google yourself. Go ahead and stalk yourself online to see what comes up using an incognito browser (so that your search history and your logged-in accounts don't affect the results). If you have a stranger, a recruiter let's say, Googling you, what story does it tell you about you? What can people see in your social media accounts that are open to the public? What words would you use to describe this person that you're seeing? What does your LinkedIn profile look like? What does your headline say? Is the information you share online consistent, or does it look like there are several different versions of you?
All of this is useful information to complete an audit of your current personal branding state so you can then move forward with taking ownership of your online presence and craft a personal brand that screams HIGH-VALUE HIRE.
Create a personal brand brain dump
Next, I want you to dump all of the information derived from both your reflection and Google search into a table - let's just call it a personal brand brain dump.
Down the left-hand side, create rows for your personality, knowledge and expertise, strengths, values, weaknesses and dislikes, and career interests or career ambition. In the first column, it's going to be called ‘how others currently perceive me’, fill it out to do a stocktake of where you're currently at.
Next, I'd like you to work on how you want others to see you. A framework I like to use with my clients is the ‘three by three by three framework’. This means three skills or areas of expertise that you'd like to be known for, three strengths (strengths are talents, things that fundamentally make you who you are that you could apply to any different situation), and three core values (how you get your work done).
For example, my three skills would be HR, psychology, and career coaching. My three strengths would be my empathy, ability to communicate, and my ability to have a compelling vision of the future. And lastly, my three core values are relatability, empowerment, and achievement.
Once you design this, I want you to go back to your table and add a new column which is ‘how I would like people to me you against these three areas’. For the sections, your knowledge and expertise, your values, your strengths, your personality, and your career ambition - you're going to brain dump all the things that you'd like people to be thinking about you and saying about you.
The third column is ‘the actions I can take to close the gap between my current reality and the personal brand that I want to have’. When it comes to closing the gap, what actions will you take to tell your story?
Once you’ve filled out this table, your ‘three by three by three’ must show up in your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn - it should be present in all of your external marketing material. Everything in your filled-out personal brand brain dump will be a very compelling vehicle to deliver against your personal brand!
Now that you’ve got the tools to establish a strategic personal brand and professional online presence, it’s time for you to start designing your very own personal brand once and for all! Need a few more tips to kick your personal brand up a notch (or 1,000 notches)?! I’ve got you covered with my comprehensive (and FREE) masterclass, Dream Job Magnet. In this game-changing training, I teach you how to power up your personal brand to attract multiple job offers, including:
🔥 Insider secrets from an ex Recruiter & HR Manager who has seen literally tens of thousands of job applications as to what stand-out candidates do differently.
🔥How to position yourself as a high-value hire to land multiple interviews & offers that recognise your worth.
🔥Loads of practical examples using real-life personal branding documents!
Want in? Watch my masterclass by clicking on the image below - I’m SO excited for you to level up your personal brand FOR LIFE!