Building the Best Personal Brand

Your personal brand is how people know or perceive you professionally, perhaps before they even meet you. It’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. I am a tremendous advocate for personal branding, and I believe that it is one of the first things you should begin to develop when thinking about your career. 

Here are 3 things to consider when beginning to develop your personal brand:

  1. Your personal branding MUST communicate your OWN story.
  2. The goal of your branding is NOT to attract everyone; it is to attract the right people to resonate with you.
  3. What are the identifiable aspects about you that make you, you?

Take inspiration from how others represent themselves, sure. However, don’t just copy elements from another’s personal branding because they simply won’t be accurate representations of you. How do YOU want to be seen by others? Is the work that you do consistent with the elements of your personal brand? Do you really care if a home construction company likes your work if your dream is to work for a fashion magazine? Find your niche, think about your goals, and move from there.

So, what makes up a personal brand? Is it how you look? Is it your Instagram page? Is it how you write an email? Truth be told, your personal brand is all of these things, and then some. 

Here are a few components of a personal brand:

  • Your resume and cover letters.
  • Your portfolio.
  • All your social media accounts where people can view information about you publicly. 
  • Your email and signature line- and yes, even the tone in which you write these emails.
  • References (who you have represent you matters).
  • Colors you use to identify your brand. 
  • Fonts you use in communications, graphics, documents, etc.
  • Public photos or headshots.
  • So much more!

When people can tie you to something and make an impression, that’s part of your personal brand. 

Branding is about so much more than what people see, it’s about how you make people feel.”

Kimberly Haydn

Networking is a major part of your personal brand. It’s your personal brand in practice. You should ask yourself, “how do they perceive my brand from just one encounter?” Do you leave an impression that makes them want to go over your resume, check your website or submit your name to human resources as a possible candidate? It is so important that you invest in every single encounter as you never know where your next recommendation or opportunity could come from. Make sure you follow up with your connections and keep them connected to your life. Empower your network with information about you and you will always be in a better position.

What you should know about your personal brand before you begin:

  • You already have everything that you need.
  • Your personal brand should be an authentic representation of who you already are and who you are aspiring to be, not who you would rather be. 

Rachel Meltzer is a senior at the University of Oklahoma studying public relations and arts management & entrepreneurship. She currently serves as the National President for PRSSA, President of the OU Advertising Club and as the Research Director for Lindsey+Asp Agency. She additionally hosts Hi Friends!: The Podcast. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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