In our school courses we discuss branding very frequently. We often review strategies that companies have used in past campaigns to differentiate themselves from competitors in the industry. Have you ever thought about yourself as a brand? How do you advertise yourself? Does your online presence build a positive image for your future professional endeavors?

If this seems overwhelming at all, don’t worry! This blog will help you get started on your personal brand image, and how to make it a successful one!

What is it?

Personal branding is the public perception that you create for yourself. It is essentially self-marketing. The majority of people already have a personal brand without even realizing it. You may be used to hearing that it’s important not to focus on yourself, but for personal branding this is a perfect time to focus on YOU. If you were a brand, how would you want to be seen?

How do I build a positive personal brand?

This question is tricky. First, ask yourself what are your interests and values? What would you like to be known for? Everyone has a unique set of interests and values, and once you have these questions answered it will be much easier to begin.

Narrow down what matters to you, and brainstorm ideas on how you can build your brand off of your interests.

For example, if you are interested in fitness you could start a fitness blog or Instagram account. This is additional online presence, and can be linked to your personal website or resume. It gives employers a better knowledge of who you are and what it is you are interested in outside of work. Employers, especially agencies, focus on looking for a good culture fit in their employees.

Review your current online presence

You may be cautious of what you post online, but was your freshman roommate just as cautious? You may not want future employers to see that one embarrassing picture from homecoming three years ago….

Checking your online presence can help you control what others see. Google yourself. Then you can see what appears when people look your name up. If you have never tried to Google your own name, do it right now, this minute.This also pertains to posts or tweets you have written. I know we have all had those moments reading old statuses thinking, “….I SAID THAT?!”

Here are two steps to help secure a good online presence…

  1. Review your security settings; making your account private can help assure that only your friends can see your photos and posts! (Facebook also allows you to view your profile as someone who is not a friend.)
  2. Audit your tagged posts/photos. Anything look inappropriate or something that may not coincide with your personal brand? Untag yourself, or you can even request for it to be removed.

Keeping your personal website/LinkedIn up-to-date

This is especially important when you have your LinkedIn URL located in your resume. If employers happen to barely skim over your resume and immediately turn to LinkedIn as a resource to see your connections this could pose as a negative, if it’s not up to date. This can include your previous or current jobs, and even people that you have networked with. Knowing people in the industry of your interest will also benefit your personal brand, it gives you a certain amount of credibility in the industry.

Don’t have the personal brand you want?

This is okay! Everyone starts somewhere, the most important part is to just begin. There are many resources online that can help generate starting ideas. The best thing about personal branding is that it is an ongoing process. There is always room for you to build your brand to be what you want it to be.

Written by PR/Social Media Intern: Brittany Forsberg

Sources used for blog post:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2014/08/18/7-things-you-can-do-to-build-an-awesome-personal-brand/2/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-dallacamina/5-keys-to-building-your-p_b_5355300.html

http://www.pinterest.com

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