Tips for Building Your Personal Brand

Personal branding is important. Jump start your career and build a brand that reflects your value to potential employers.

Building a personal brand is the one of the most important steps you can take towards proactively managing your career. It's not a one-time event; rather, it's an ongoing activity you will need to revisit in order to ensure your personal branding statement and mission are on target and you a building a professional reputation that will help you achieve your career goals.
Regardless of your career path, you'll need to nurture your personal brand to ensure you're sending the right message to potential employers and your professional peers. There's no better time to start then right now.
Steps to Building Your Personal Brand
If possible, start building your personal brand while in college, or immediately after graduation. If you've already entered the workforce, start as early as you can. Here's how:
  1. Audit your reputation. The best way to do this is to search for your name in Google, Bing or your search engine of choice. The result you see are the same a a potential employer would get as well. Are you happy with the results? Would you be embarrassed if a potential or current boss stumbled upon the photos that are visible? If yes, it's time to clean up your accounts or adjust your privacy settings. On the flip side, if you get no information back, that means your personal brand is non-existent. Consider launching a LinkedIn Profile - with information about your resume, volunteer experience or professional interests. 
  2. Create a website. It's important to establish a digital presence that aligns with your career goals. That way, when someone searches for your name they can see information you want to highlight. A personal website is a great way to rank in Google for your name. Buy a domain name associated with your real name, then use it to promote your skills to potential employers. 
  3. Use social media. Social media is a great way to network and make professional connections; just remembers that anything you post publicly will be seen by potential employers. Don't ruin your reputation by posting party photos or risque images of yourself. Keep it positive, and use your accounts to add value to your personal brand. If you don't want potential employers to see your information, be sure to manage your privacy settings carefully and set your account to "private."
  4. Volunteer. What you do outside of your job can be as important as what you do on your job. That includes volunteer work. In addition to the good you can do for your community there are professional benefits to volunteering as well like: building new skills, earning a professional reference and making connections that you might be able to leverage for a new job opportunity. 
  5. Give back to your professional network. Another aspect of your personal brand is your network itself. To effectively build your network, it's important to help others whenever you can. Look for opportunities to be a connector, someone who brings other professionals together for mutual benefit. 
Your career may take twists and turns along the way. Be open and flexible, but do set goals. In today's world of work the career ladder has been replaced by a career lattice. It's up to you to own your career and take steps towards securing your professional future. By proactively building a personal brand that aligns with your goals, you are setting yourself up for success. 
Related Articles About Building Your Personal Brand:
Creating a Personal Branding Statement
Living Your Personal Brand
Would You Pass a Personal Brand Audit?