Personal Branding

When you are looking for a new career or a promotion you need to showcase the best “you” so that you stand out from the other candidates. A personal brand is marketing yourself by showing the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are. This is how people see you and what they know about you.

In our multi-generational workplace, some generations are better at showcasing their accomplishments than others. If your one of the people who struggle with talking about your accomplishments because you think you are ‘just doing your job’, you need to practice talking about the things you have done that have been successful. If your one of the people who are comfortable with talking about your successes, be very careful that you are not coming across as arrogant or bragging. The ability to talk about your accomplishments, talents, and what value you can contribute is one skill everyone can learn.

93% of employers review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision and 55% of employers have said they have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile.

1.            Define Your Brand

Define your character, what are your values, what are your strengths, what are you an expert in? What top 3 core values make you YOU?

Do your own SWOT Analysis on you. Utilize the tools available like survey monkey and send a short survey about you to trusted friends, coworkers, and mentors. Be open to feedback.

Companies like to use nouns as guiding values. Works like commitment, integrity, etc. The challenge is changing that noun into a verb, can you describe that value into an actionable item?

For example, I have been told I am extremely organized. What does that mean in the job market? Expounding upon that, the action is that one of my strengths is developing a file naming structure that makes it easy for anyone to be able to locate digital files.  Describing yourself as organized is vague, showcasing the action shows that you have valuable skills.

Another example, someone might say you have a warm, open personality. The actionable description is that you are comfortable talking to everyone and you help people feel at ease in new settings.

Do not get stuck on your weaknesses. We all have them; we all have areas of growth opportunities. Focus on what you can improve on but do not get caught up in the things you don’t do well. There will always be someone better than you in somethings.

Recently while listening to a virtual conference the speaker was telling the story about how she wanted to be good at everything but no matter how hard she tried, she didn’t understand or like using excel. Instead of agonizing over something that was a weakness she recognized that there would always be someone in the office that had the skill set for excel that she did not. And she utilized the talents of others in projects to accomplish the goals.  For your personal brand, focus on the strengths.

There are many great tools out there to help you figure out what your strengths are., is a great tool to help you on the path of discovering your strengths and the value you bring to your employer.

2.            Pick Two (2) Social Media Platforms

There are too many social platforms out there to keep up with all of them. You want one social media platform for value and another for the most engagement.

In the Magic Valley for businesses Facebook is the top social media tool for engagement and LinkedIn is the best for the best value. If you are searching for a job or wanting to advance your career then you will want to focus on LinkedIn.

Google yourself, the top results displayed is the first impression others will have. If you don’t like what you see then take the time to clean it up. Remove photos that don’t portray yourself the professional image you want to be known as.

3.            Communicate your Message

Tell your story, establish yourself as a credible voice. Utilize tools like LinkedIn to express your thoughts and opinions in your area of expertise. You can start a blog or website. Remember to express yourself clearly and positively.

If someone asked, “what do you do?” Can you answer in two sentences? For example, I tell people that the Chamber is to connect people and businesses together. This means making the right introductions to help others meet a need or solve a problem they have.

Soft skills are valuable, communicate the value you bring to your current role and future jobs by outlining your soft skills. Recently I asked my board president what value I have added to the members since coming on board. She instantly listed eight (8) things. These included increased social media presence, improved graphic arts, Educational topics in the weekly blog. Better content and educational information for the Chamber luncheons, introducing leadership programs, and building trustworthiness in the community.

Remember quality is better than quantity. You need to be strategic in the number of posts. Be sure what your delivering is quality over quantity.

4.            Be Authentic

Who you are should be at the forefront of what your brand is.  Walk the walk, no one likes a fake person. If one of your traits is being a good listener then make sure you are, be engaged with the person who is speaking to you in person. Being genuine is doing what you say you will do.

Having a strong personal brand can lead to interviews, job placements, promotions, partnerships, and more.

Building and maintaining your personal brand will help you network, establish credibility, and produce opportunities that may not otherwise be available.

By Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director


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