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Building Your Personal Brand

Present yourself to others with personal branding and show the unique qualities that make you stand out from other candidates.

Personal branding is the way you market yourself, package your talents and highlight your career to prospective employers or customers. It is important to make your brand an authentic representation of you — your values, passions, skills and goals. Your existing reputation is important and you may want to ask your friends, managers and co-workers how they might describe you, your personality and your strengths. What do they value most about you? You may also want to consider taking self-assessments to get a better understanding of your skills and values.

GCFLearnFree.org created Personal Branding 101 to walk you through the process of creating your personal brand.

As you begin to build your brand, you may want to take these steps.

  • Do an internet search on yourself to get a better idea of your current online reputation and consider setting up news alerts so you can monitor when new information is added about you.
  • Use a professional email address and signature.
  • Keep your online image positive.
  • Upload the same profile picture to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube so you can be easily identified across networks and always make sure your posts are in-line with your brand.
  • Create your LinkedIn profile for professional networking.
  • Develop your elevator pitch, a clear, succinct statement you can deliver in 30 seconds or fewer, that describes who you are, what you’re seeking and what you can offer.
  • Create a simple business card with your contact information and a short personal statement.
  • Refresh your resume to communicate your personal brand.
  • Use the Personal Branding Worksheet to help you develop your personal brand.

As you work to establish your personal brand, think about those people you admire. Can you pattern yourself and your career after them? Learn more about the steps they took to get where they are today and determine if you are ready and able to take those steps.

You may also want to consider the following suggestions as you strive to expand your brand recognition.

Determine and show off your expertise. Focus on your specific niche and determine what sets you apart from the competition, be it fellow applicants, consultants or businesses. Writing and publishing content in your area of expertise and becoming a trusted source of information through your content can help you develop a reputation as an expert. Start a blog and update it regularly, but also consider guest blogging to increase your network reach.

Network and continue to network. Support others in their efforts and ask your network to support you. Speak at networking events, tradeshows and other industry events to build your credibility.

Prepare your references and provide your resume to them so they will know your accomplishments and understand the qualities you wish to highlight.

Target your product — you — to what your prospective employer needs. Do your homework, understand the employer’s needs, use appropriate keywords and industry buzzwords, and present the value you will bring to the organization.

Find a mentor from one of the Military Spouse Mentoring Programs.

Building your personal brand is a marketing concept that may open up professional opportunities, including the possibility of a better job, more customers for your company if you are an entrepreneur and possibly industry recognition. Take the time to hone the message you want to share and continue to update your message as you move ahead in your career.

If you have questions about developing your brand or any other aspect of your job search, call 800-342-9647 to speak to a career coach.

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