10 Tips to Take Your Personal Brand to the Next Level

John Krautzel
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Crafting your own personal brand is one of the most effective ways to express your experience, knowledge, skills and talent to key players in the job market. Arguably more memorable than even the best resume or cover letter, your personal brand truly helps you stand above the crowd by allowing you to articulate your worth. "To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer of a brand called You," says author and management expert Tom Peters. Here are 10 effective ways to fine-tune your personal brand and make a knockout impression.

1. Know Your Goals

Determine your primary short- and long-term goals. Decide exactly what you want to achieve, and put it in writing. Setting goals is an effective way to help craft a compelling brand message. After some time passes, come back to your original goals and tweak them if need be.

2. Determine Your Unique Selling Point

What makes you stand out from your peers? Think about your own personal strengths and talents. Enlist the help of friends and colleagues; ask them to describe you using three or four words. In addition to your strengths, determine those things about which you are passionate. Knowing what truly makes you tick is crucial to developing an effective personal brand.

3. Identify Your Audience

Who are you sending your message to? Whether it is a potential employer or the future purchasers of your autobiography, make sure your message is tailored to your audience. Think about their wants, needs and problems, and figure out how you can help.

4. Update Your Resume and Cover Letter

Once you develop your personal branding message, refresh your resume and cover letter to reflect this message. Make sure your resume is in line with your goals. Your cover letter should sum up your personal brand and convey your unique value in three to four concise, well-written paragraphs.

5. Get a Professional Headshot

Your look is a big part of your personal brand, so showcase it to the world with a great, professional photo. It is a small investment that helps establish credibility while helping you connect across multiple social media platforms. Dress professionally, and take a variety of face-forward, smiling headshots. Choose one shot, and make it your primary picture for all your social media profiles, your website and your business cards.

6. Create Your Own Website

A clean, polished website establishes credibility and shows how serious you are about achieving your goals and making your presence known. Your website should highlight your skills, expertise and professional accomplishments while conveying your personal values and principles. Feel free to talk about your passions, hobbies and interests, and really tell your story in your own words. This is also a good place to establish a professional blog.

7. Network Offline

While an overwhelming amount of communication happens online, offline networking remains an important part of your overall brand. Stay connected with your friends, family members, colleagues and clients; check in often with updates on what and how you are doing, and know the same about them. Attend conferences, seminars and other events relevant to your industry and goals.

8. Choose a Theme

Your personal brand is a marketing campaign designed to promote you, so treat it as such. To create a consistent and professional look, develop a package that includes a professional logo, a limited color palette and a standard, easy-to-read font. Use these tools on your social media channels, cover letter, resume and website to convey a polished, consistent look to potential clients and employers.

9. Revamp Your Social Media Presence

Once you establish your personal brand message, every one of your social media pages should reflect and support this message. If you have not cleaned up your online presence, now is the time to do so. Remove any offensive, unprofessional or otherwise unsavory pictures, posts and comments from your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and replace your profile pictures with your new one. If you do not want your personal social media life to interfere with your professional endeavors, change your privacy settings or create separate pages under a pseudonym.

10 Re-Evaluate Your Brand Often

Today's world changes constantly; what was exciting and fresh yesterday is stale and redundant today. Maintaining a compelling personal brand is not a one-time gig. You must constantly evaluate your message and your intended audience. Stay up to date on industry trends, and make sure your personal brand is relevant and useful while remaining true to your personal goals and values.

Creating a personal brand is essential for success in today's competitive job market, as it gives you the power to control your own narrative. Use these tips to help you reflect on your unique abilities and goals as you build your personal brand.

Photo Courtesy of pedrosilva61 at Flickr.com



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  • Tara Avery
    Tara Avery

    There are so many great tips in this article. I especially think the idea of a unique selling point is important. It's so easy to get lost in a glutted marketplace, but really identifying the things that make you the best person for whatever job you're either working or aiming to work is vital. I think, in general, there's a tendency toward undervaluing oneself. Thanks for this great read.


    There are many suggestions from this article that I need to do to creating a more effective brand for myself. Branding is not something I've ever learned about in school. The tip of getting a professional headshot is great. None of the current photos that I have of myself look very professional. I also need to make business cards for myself. This is such a cheap investment and you never know when it will come in handy. It's interesting that something as simple as a color palate on a website or a font on a business card can make such a difference in branding.

  • Jacqueline Parks
    Jacqueline Parks

    I need to work more on my personal branding, but it is really hard for me to define my goals. I wear a lot of different hats professionally, and I want my brand to extend across all my titles. This is something I need to think about some more. I like the advice to choose a theme and keep it consistent. I am going to be working more on creating a consistent image from website to social media to my personal focal points while networking. Thank you for the helpful advice.

  • Jill Coleman
    Jill Coleman

    As a self-employed freelance writer, I honestly have never thought about "branding" myself, so this article was really interesting and helpful to me. The thought that "companies like to see consistency" rang true to me. It also just seems like a super easy little extra thing to do to set yourself apart from others vying for the same jobs.

  • Jay Bowyer
    Jay Bowyer

    The importance of offline networking can't be overstated in today's ultra-connected world. It's so tempting to get totally caught up in online ventures and forget about face-to-face communication, but an in-person meeting remains one of the most compelling ways to attract new business. I think that applies when you're employed by someone else and also when you're freelance.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. Personal branding is a personal choice. Some say that it is needed if you want to land that dream job while others say that you don't need to brand yourself to get that dream job. Personal preference here. But, if you do take the time to come up with your own personal brand, then it would be best to have all of your social media accounts as well as your resumes and cover letters contain that same personal brand. This way, when a hiring company is checking you out, they see the same sort of personal branding across the board. There is no right or wrong here but completely a personal decision. The concept behind it is marketing - marketing yourself to prospective employers using your "brand" across all social media. This way, when an employer is checking you out, they are seeing consistency. Companies seem to like that!

  • Cory L.
    Cory L.

    I've always found the idea of a personal brand discomforting, as they seem so antithetical. A brand is something tied to marketing and sales, whereas what is "personal" is so much deeper and more nuanced. I'd add an 11 to this list: never forget the difference between your person and your personal brand!

  • William Browning
    William Browning

    Consistency is the key once you find a good personal brand. Although the messages can change over the years, mission statements for companies usually stay the same for several years until corporations literally rebrand themselves as an entirely new entity. A personal brand that stays the same over several years earns you a reputation in whatever industry you choose. Once you earn that respect, then try to change the brand.

  • Sylvia L.
    Sylvia L.

    Katharine, I see where you're coming from, yet still disagree. You can create your own personal brand by choosing a theme, colors, fonts and a message that stays consistent. Meanwhile, you should recognize who your audience is when it comes to a cover letter and what information is included on a resume. If you're seeking employment in more than one field, this is especially important. A person who wants a job in graphic design likely would create a different vibe than someone who wanted a job in, say, banking.

  • Leigh Morgan
    Leigh Morgan

    @Jacob T.

    I understand your concern about personal branding, but I find that all of these things are tasks business professionals should be doing anyway. If you don't want to focus on your personal brand, per se, you can do these same activities with a focus on networking or finding new customers for your business. It's always good to have a USP, whether you are trying to find a job or start your own business, and I think we can all benefit from having a professional-looking photo and personal website.

  • Jacob T.
    Jacob T.

    I understand that it is important to be professional and convey the sort of employee you could be, but to consume your entire life in the pursuit of the ideal personal brand seems rather callow and underwhelming. I don't disagree that prospective employees should be careful with what images and stories of themselves are readily available online, but the rigor with which well-regarded brands are protected is a lifetime pursuit of many people dedicated to the process.

  • Katharine M.
    Katharine M.

    The suggestion "identify your audience" seems contradictory with the idea of having a personal brand. If you're modifying it for each audience, how can it be a consistent brand that sets you apart? It seems like tailoring a message to your audience is more about figuring out what they want to hear than identifying yourself as a unique candidate.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    Excellent advice. As a college professor, I am always encouraging my students to revamp their social media presence with a professional approach. A website with sample work is also a valuable tool for employers to preview your work before you even step in the door for an interview. Leaving a professional online footprint is so important.

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