Professional Development Corner: Building Your Personal Brand

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Your personal brand communicates who you are as a professional and what you want to be known for. Defining your own personal brand is important for your growth as a professional, as it helps you take control over shaping and molding your own career trajectory. Establishing a personal brand is a great exercise for helping to give you clarity about your strengths as an employee and placing you on the path to pursue work that you are truly passionate about. Below we’ve compiled some tips for developing and promoting your own personal brand.

Know Where You’re Headed

They first step to defining your personal brand is to determine what you want your career to look like 3, 5, or 10 years down the road. Harvard Business Review recommends determining where you want to invest your energy by frequently looking at job descriptions, trade journals, and going to informational interviews. When you have a good sense of where you are headed as a professional, you can start focusing on building the skills you’ll need to be in the position you eventually want to hold.

Know Your Strengths 

A key aspect of developing your personal brand is recognizing your own strengths as a professional. Penelope Trunk stresses that having the self-awareness to understand what you are truly good at is often difficult for many professionals. Try making two lists, one with your strengths as an employee and then another with a list of the tasks and responsibilities you enjoying doing at work. Ideally you'll want to focus on cultivating a career in an area where these two lists converge, so that you will both enjoy the work you are doing and be able to excel at it.

Determine Your Description

The Forbes article, “The First Step To Building Your Personal Brand”, offers helpful advice for coming up with a short sentence or phrase to communicate your personal brand. Your summary should be simple and memorable, and it should feel inspiring to you. Inc. also recommends coming up with "three-part accomplishment statement". Turn each of your major accomplishments into a single, three-part statement with a beginning, middle, and end. These statements are useful to have on hand when discussing your achievements with potential employers.

Promote Yourself

Once you have a good grasp of your personal brand, you’ll want to get the word out to potential employers. The article 7 Key Ways To Promote Your Personal Brand offers advice for how to use social media and the web to effectively promote yourself. They recommend keeping your LinkedIn and social media profiles up-to-date, as well as keeping your work samples easily accessible on a personal website, blog, or online portfolio.

Ready to launch your personal brand? The WMA 2018 Annual Meeting in Tacoma is just around the corner. Conferences are a great opportunity to promote your personal brand to potential employers. Have plenty of business cards ready (these will be handy for our Speed Networking event on Sunday, October 21), consider staying longer than the actual conference dates, and limit your phone usage while at the meeting.



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