SumTotal Blog

How to Build your Personal Brand

February 19, 2014



Rome wasn’t built in a day and your personal brand won’t be either. But having a strong one opens up doors and provides unexpected opportunities for advancement.

Whether you’re early on in your career or a seasoned professional, here are three ways to build your personal brand empire.

  1. Don’t Become Dehydrated – Quench Your Thirst for Learning462048891 (1)
    It can be overwhelming and exhausting to stay on top of job and industry trends, but it’s important to stay relevant and “drink up” the latest happenings. An easy way to do this is to rely on influencers in your field or experts within your organization. Follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn, read content they produce, attend their webinars and most importantly engage with them.

    Even if you aren’t consuming everything they put out, you’re getting a snapshot of what’s going on in your field. Same goes for training. Whether corporate or informal, most people can benefit from a refresher on “How to Give an Effective Presentation” (or in my case, “How to Make Sure You Don’t Pass Out During a Presentation”) or a massive open online course (MOCC) on How to Inspire Leadership through Emotional Intelligence. There may not be enough time in the day to commit to a full course, but the beauty of a MOOC is you can learn at your own pace and pick and choose the sections you review.

    Investing in learning not only will keep you in the race; it will put you ahead of the pack. Let’s face it, employer’s love skills and learning helps build and hone in on those skills. Whether you’re competing for promotion or a new job in your field, your commitment to continuous improvement will be tied to your brand and result in a win-win for you and your employer.

  2. Be a Jack of All Trades, but a Master of One
    Think about your organization and your role. Is there anything your colleagues continually ask you to help with? Maybe you create the most engaging presentations or maybe you’re a super user for one of your organization’s core software solutions.Highlight these skills whenever you can. If you’re the presentation go-to, offer your assistance for company-wide events, or if you’re the super-user offer to train others when appropriate. If you have a great partnership with a vendor and have gained value from that collaboration, be a reference!

    Acting as a reference, whether by doing a case study, speaking at events or talking to prospective clients, solidifies you as an expert.  (And who doesn’t want to talk about a project they worked on that was successful?).

    Also, it’s an opportunity to network without even trying. You’re connecting with your peers. What’s the worst that can happen? You expand your network and get an opportunity to talk about best practices? Call me crazy, but I’m willing to take that risk every time.

    Becoming an expert and sharing that expertise helps build your network, your resume and your personal brand.

  3. Be a Social (Network) Butterfly
    It might be obvious that a social presence is crucial to building your personal brand, but with all of the Internet noise, it can be difficult to share your voice and get noticed. Engage with influencers on Twitter and LinkedIn. Ask them a question or provide a point of view on their posts. Simple conversations lead to connections and followers, which can lead to offline relationships.Connecting offline will always be a powerful way to expand your network and cannot be replaced by social media. But time constraints and proximity often make it infeasible to meet in person. Take advantage of any opportunities to meet peers and influencers virtually. Use those relationships to open new opportunities!Maybe you’ve met someone at a conference who has a popular blog frequented by peers? Offer to write a guest post. Tapping into larger networks is a quick way to give you more exposure and build your credibility.Be creative, show personality and be consistent. For example, write your LinkedIn professional headline to reflect your brand, not just your current job title. Make sure all of your profiles reflect the same tone and personality.  It’s the attention to detail that will build a solid brand and help you get noticed.

    There’s a reason why Nike, Amazon.com and Google are successful. They offer great products, and they invest time and money in building their brands. Take note, and do the same with your personal brand!

Those are just some of my suggestions I’ve learned along the way. Do you have any to add? Feel free to leave a comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter @cmstl25.

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