The Essential Guide to Building Your Personal Brand

By Brittany Loeffler on May 14, 2018

As you wrap up your college career and take one step closer to graduating, it’s time to start building your personal brand. Nowadays, getting a job involves more than just sending in your resume and attending an interview. It’s about building your personal brand and using social media and the Internet to stand out to companies professionally.

The second a hiring manager receives a qualified application, they will go online and do a quick search of the applicant. When they see that this applicant has been building a personal brand and presents their knowledge and work in a creative and effective way, they are more likely to be invited to an interview.

We’ve come up with a simple guide to building your personal brand so you can land that dream job after graduation.

building your personal brand

via Pixabay

What Does Personal Branding Mean?

Just how companies and business have a specific brand that people recognize when they see a logo or product, people have them too. A personal brand is what you put out for the public to see. It’s a way for strangers to get to know who you are, what you stand for, and what kind of value you can provide.

When someone sees your name, they should think of content you’ve created or an industry you enjoy working in.

Clean Up Your Social Media

Before you even start thinking about building your personal brand, go through all of your old social media posts. Clean up your social media by deleting posts and pictures you wouldn’t want important people to see.

All of those pictures with red solo cups and climbing on things that weren’t meant to be climbed should be taken down. Controversial or petty statuses should be deleted. The rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, then delete it.

It’s More Than Just Likes and Followers

A common misconception about building your personal brand is that the number of likes and followers you have measures the success of your brand. While it’s a great feeling to get hundreds of likes and have thousands of people follow you, it doesn’t always mean your personal brand is good.

Building your personal brand means creating successfully getting your message out to the world and creating valuable content that shows off your talents and knowledge. Building your personal brand is more than just having a large following.

Find Your Niche

Now comes the hard question: What do you want to do with your life? It’s a heavy question for someone who is just starting out. However, in order to build your personal brand, you’ll have to figure out what type of industry you’d like to work in. Once you have that figured out, it’s time to pick your niche.

It’s essential to pick a niche that is specific enough to become an expert in, but broad enough so there are a lot of people who will need your expertise. An example of this would be someone would like to work in the marketing industry, but their niche is social media marketing. They have an overall knowledge of the industry, but hone in on one aspect and become an expert in it.

Once you find your niche, it’s time to start building your personal brand.

which platform is best for your personal brand

Graphic by Brittany Loeffler

Pick Your Platform

In the age of social media, there are a variety of platforms you can use when building your personal brand. However, each platform serves a different purpose and attracts different audiences. It’s important to choose a primary platform that caters to your content, target audience, and your industry.

That’s not saying that you shouldn’t have more than one social media platform for your brand. It just means that you should focus solely on one platform while updating other platforms with the same content as your primary platform.

Facebook – You can use Facebook as your primary platform if you would like to easily interact with your followers. It’s a great platform to post content that is shareable and is interesting to many people even outside your niche. It’s also a useful platform if you are interested in Facebook paid advertisements down the road.

LinkedIn – For all things professional, LinkedIn is your go-to primary platform. It’s a community of working professionals of all industries that share the same goal of networking and inspiring each other. If your niche is more business-content focused, then this is the way to go.

Instagram – Maybe your personal brand is more photo-focused. Instagram would be the best way to show off your talents and work. This is great for photographers and anyone in the food or fashion industry. The role of hashtags on this platform offers a great way to get your brand noticed.

YouTube – If you feel that videos are the best way to capture your personal brand, then your primary channel should be YouTube. You can get creative with your content when filming videos. It also doesn’t limit you to 15-second or 1-minute clips.

Medium – When the best way to build your brand is through the written word, Medium is the way to go. This platform is helpful for reaching an audience with blogs and articles. Your writing will be categorized and shown to people who are interested in the same topic.

Podcasts – Though it isn’t a social media platform, it’s a way to build your personal brand and share content with your audience. This is great if you enjoy talking rather than writing and can hold conversations. It also provides an excuse to conduct interviews.

Pinterest – Depending on your target audience, Pinterest may be the most effective platform. Women make up the majority of the site’s users. It works best if your content includes appealing graphics that leads back to a blog post or article.

Quora – Show off your knowledge for your niche by answering questions people post on Quora. This will build a repertoire for your brand and people will trust your insights and knowledge the more you engage with people.

Build Your Website

It’s essential to have a website when building your personal brand. Your website is home to all of your content, contact information, and everything your that is your personal brand. Having your own website is more professional than just having a Facebook page or LinkedIn profile.

It doesn’t have to be a fancy website with widgets and savvy graphics, so don’t get too carried away. You can use simple programs such as Wix or SquareSpace to make your site.

Make sure to create an email account using your website’s domain and add your website to your email signature. This will also enhance professionalism and draw more traffic.

Design Your Personal Brand

Building your personal brand means creating something that embodies you and your message. This can be done through the design of your brand. Choose a color scheme that represents your brand and industry to use on your website. Create a logo for yourself. If you aren’t experienced in graphic design, you can find someone on Fiverr to create one for just $5. When you have a logo, people will associate your brand and message with it.

Create Content

Now it’s time to actually start building your personal brand. Creating content is how you build a brand and show people what you can do. Content can be in the form of many things. It can be blog posts, ebooks, videos, photos, or podcasts. Get creative with your content and topics. You want to draw people to engage with it and share it with their network.

By creating content, you are communicating your niche and showing off your talents to potential employers while growing a following and successfully building your personal brand.

Provide Value

Have you ever clicked on an article because it had an interesting headline but found reading it was a waste of your time? Good content will provide value to its audience, which is exactly what you want yours to do. Your content should share your knowledge and ideas that some people may not know. Teach your followers something new or entertain them. In order to create quality content, your audience must get something out of it.

Get Your Personal Brand Out There

It’s useless to have a personal brand and nobody to see it. You have to get your personal brand in front of people so they become interested and eventually follow you. This can be done a number of ways. Share your website or primary platform on social media. Ask your friends and family to share your content. Join relevant social groups on Facebook and share your brand with them.

The more visibility the better! A personal brand is useless if it doesn’t draw attention. You want people to see it and consider hiring you in the future because of it.

Network

Network with other people in your niche. It’s as easy as sending someone you admire an email just to say hello. Start and grow relationships with other experts in your niche and grow your connections. These connections can someday land your dream job!

The only way to network with these people is by building your personal brand. When you get your name out there and people recognize it, it will be easier to network. When people already enjoy your content and know what you stand for, they will be more interested in meeting with you.

Collaborate with Other Brands

The best way to get more brand awareness is by collaborating with other people and brands who already have a following. This could be in the form of guest posts on a blog or be interviewed during a podcast. The more you collaborate, the larger the audience your personal brand will reach.

Collaborating with other brands is another form of networking. These connections can introduce your brand to their connections and so on. You never know who will see your content!

building your personal brand

via Pixabay

Interact with Your Audience

After you have built a foundation for your personal brand, it’s time to keep up with it and engage with your audience. They follow you because they are interested in what you have to say and what you can offer them. Show them that you value their interest in you with interactions.

This can be in the form of answering emails they send you, replying to comments, or even hosting a Q&A. One of the most powerful things social media has to offer is interacting with people. Start a live stream video and invite your followers to watch and ask you questions about yourself or your niche. They’ll appreciate you acknowledging them.

Embrace Your Brand

The number one thing to remember is to be yourself when building your personal brand. You want your personal brand to be authentic and stay true to who you are as a person. People can spot someone being fake on social media a mile away.

Since you are building your personal brand to one day land a job in the future, you don’t want to lie about things. You should be truthful in what you say and genuine in your ideas. You don’t want someone to hire you for something you aren’t. You also don’t want someone expecting more out of you than you can actually accomplish.

Land Your Dream Job

By building your personal brand, it puts you one step closer to landing your dream job. It shows potential employers that you are an expert in your niche and can add value to their company. Building a personal brand also shows that you are dedicated and creative. Not everyone takes the time to build a personal brand and keep up with it.

Building your personal brand says a lot about who you are and it’s more than just what you put online. When you work hard and stay dedicated to your niche and making connections, it will one day reward you with your dream job.

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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