What Is Personal Brand and Why Is It Important? (+Personal Branding Strategy)

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Establishing a personal brand is crucial, especially in today's age of digital transformation, where 70% of employers research job seekers on social media, 40% of employers are hesitant to hire individuals who share inappropriate content, and 47% are wary of those invisible online. 

This data underscores the double-edged sword of a personal brand: it's about showcasing professionalism and a rich character on social platforms. Equally, a strong personal brand transcends the bounds of the online realm, with day-to-day office behavior, business attire, and career excellence playing essential roles in career realization. Therefore, demonstrating a clear online signature, navigating the 21st century, and proactiveness in digital and physical self-presentation results in many professional benefits.

In this article, we will tell you all you need to know about personal brand and building a personal brand that resonates with your authentic self, especially if you're starting a new brand or redo your existing brand.

Table of Contents

What is Personal Brand, and Why is it Important?

A personal brand is the image people have of an individual based on their skills, experiences, and personality. It embodies how you are perceived in your career and industry and even in your personal life. The practice of shaping and promoting this personal brand is called personal branding.

For instance, Elon Musk's personal brand is associated with being a futuristic visionary and an innovative entrepreneur. As the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, his bold vision for the future of space travel and sustainable energy has positioned him as a leading figure in technological advancement. His active presence on social media, where he frequently shares updates, engages with followers and makes bold statements, keeps him in the public eye and reinforces his image as a forward-thinking disruptor. His involvement in various groundbreaking projects, from electric cars to space missions, consistently aligns with his brand identity.

Similarly, Michelle Obama has built a personal brand centered on her advocacy for the empowerment of women and girls, healthy living, and education. She has promoted healthy eating and physical activity among children through her initiatives like the "Let's Move!" campaign. Her memoir, "Becoming," which shares her personal journey and insights, has resonated with millions worldwide, further solidifying her brand as an inspirational leader and advocate for positive change. Michelle's public speaking engagements, where she often discusses issues related to gender equality and education, consistently reinforce her commitment to these causes.

The personal brand is crucial because it distinguishes you with the rest. It helps craft your unique story, making you memorable and enhancing your professional image. Whether it's making a strong first impression in your industry or fostering collaborations, your personal brand reflects who you are and aspire to be. It's not just about securing a job; it's about start building meaningful relationships and establishing your value in your field.

Now, if you can master the art of building a well-defined personal brand, it can open doors to new opportunities and, define your career path, distinguish you in a competitive job market, making it an indispensable tool for professional growth.

You can build an effective personal brand through your digital footprint or in-person display. Let's explore the personal branding strategies for each type one by one.

What Makes Strong Personal Brands?

For job seekers in 2024, it's key to create strong personal brands that communicate reliability and individuality. An authentic online profile that tells your professional story can make a big difference. Given that a vast majority of people trust an existing brand more when their executives are active online, a job seeker's active, professional social media presence can build trust with potential employers.

Additionally, displaying consistency in your online personal story can resonate with the 72% of recruiters who believe a strong personal brand influences hiring decisions. So, keep your LinkedIn updated, share your professional insights, and network within your industry to enhance your visibility and appeal to future employers.

In-person branding is equally crucial. It brings your online persona into the real world, allowing you to make tangible connections. Professional attire and demeanor, matched with good communication skills, reinforce the reliability and distinctiveness of your digital brand.

Importantly, the synergy between your online and offline branding can make you memorable in the minds of employers and can open doors to new opportunities, especially considering that the candidate application rate can increase by 34% when a job post includes elements such as videos, which suggests that multimedia skill presentation could be beneficial​.

Digital Personal Branding: How You Can Build an Effective Personal Brand Online 

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Digital personal branding encompasses your social media activities, professional profiles on websites like LinkedIn, personal websites, and any content published under your name. This type of branding serves as your introduction to the world, reflecting your actions, areas of expertise, and overall narrative, thereby influencing your professional presence online.

Building a personal brand online to enhance your chances of getting hired involves a combination of strategic self-presentation and active engagement in your professional field.

Here are several examples of how to do this effectively:

  1. Verified Qualifications: Ensure that your professional profiles, like LinkedIn, display your certifications, degrees, and any relevant qualifications. To enhance credibility, include links to the issuing organizations or digital badges where possible.
  2. Creative Showcase: Use platforms like Behance or build your own website to showcase your creative work. The design of your online profiles should also reflect your creativity while maintaining professionalism.
  3. Professional Image: A good personal branding strategy is to maintain a consistent, professional look across all social media profiles. Use a high-quality, professional headshot, and ensure your bio clearly states your current role and aspirations.
  4. Well-Rounded Individual: Share content that reflects your varied interests and skills. Highlighting volunteering activities, hobbies, or participation in community events on platforms like Instagram or Facebook can show your well-rounded personality.
  5. Clear Personality: Let your individuality shine through in your online communication. Your posts, comments, and shares should align with the professional image you want to portray and the culture of your target industries.
  6. Communication Skills: Write insightful articles or posts on LinkedIn or your personal blog that showcase your communication skills. Engage in meaningful conversations in the comment sections of professional groups to demonstrate your expertise.
  7. Awards and Recognitions: If you have received any awards or recognitions, mention them in your profile. Consider writing about the experience and what you learned to add depth to your achievements.
  8. Positive References: On LinkedIn, you can ask your colleagues or supervisors for endorsements and recommendations. Positive feedback from others can significantly enhance your personal brand.
  9. Engage with Companies Online: Interact with companies you're interested in on their social media platforms. This shows your interest and engagement with their work, potentially making you stand out to recruiters.
  10. Compelling Content: Share and create content that adds value to your field. This could be original research, analysis, or commentary that positions you as a thought leader.
  11. Build a Following: While the quality of your content and interactions is more crucial, having a sizeable following can demonstrate your influence and reach in your professional sphere. Build your followers organically by engaging with others and sharing valuable insights.

In-Person Personal Branding: How to Build a Strong Personal Brand

In-person personal branding involves how you present yourself in face-to-face interactions, professional forums, and your everyday attire. These elements combine to create a memorable impression that complements your digital presence.

In-person personal branding is about how you present yourself in real-life interactions, encapsulating your professional essence swiftly and memorably.

Here's how you can do it:

  1. Professional Introduction: Craft a concise introduction that encapsulates your professional identity. For example, "I'm a tech-savvy educator who revitalizes classroom engagement with innovative digital tools."
  2. Networking Events: When meeting new contacts, quickly articulate your primary and secondary benefits. For example, you might say, "I specialize in social media marketing with a knack for doubling online engagement, resulting in increased brand visibility."
  3. Job Interviews: Prepare a succinct statement for interviews that aligns with the job's requirements. For instance, "I'm a strategic sales professional who consistently exceeds targets by fostering strong client relationships, ensuring sustained revenue growth."
  4. Professional Business Attire: Dress in a way that aligns with your personal brand. If your brand is 'innovative and creative,' let your attire reflect that with modern, thoughtful choices.
  5. Body Language: Use confident body language that matches the energy of your brand statement. If your brand is 'dynamic and result-driven,' your handshake, eye contact, and posture should exude confidence and purpose.
  6. First Impressions: Your introduction and initial conversations can leave a lasting impression. Ensure your tone, vocabulary, and enthusiasm are consistent with the professional image you want to convey.
  7. Consistency Across Interactions: Ensure that your presentation in meetings, presentations, and casual conversations remains consistent. This consistency builds trust and reinforces your brand.
  8. Effective Communication: Be clear and articulate in your speech. Whether you're giving a presentation or having a one-on-one conversation, effective communication skills are crucial for reinforcing your personal brand.
  9. Active Listening: Show genuine interest in others during conversations. Active listening not only helps build rapport but also demonstrates that you value others' perspectives, which can be an essential part of your personal brand.
  10. Follow-Up: After meeting someone new, follow up with a personalized message. This shows professionalism and helps reinforce your brand in the mind of the person you met.

By paying attention to these aspects, you can create a strong, consistent in-person personal brand that complements your digital presence and enhances your overall professional image.

How to Build Your Personal Brand When Applying for Jobs


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Personal Branding on Your Resume

One way that you build your brand when job searching is through your resume and cover letter.

Personal branding on your resume is about strategically showcasing who you are professionally in a way that resonates with potential employers. Here are some tips on how to infuse your resume with your personal brand:

  1. Identify who your target audience is: This means you'll need to understand the company you're applying for. Some quick research can help you quickly find similar interests, the key message that can impress them, hence craft a job-winning resume.
  2. Tailoring Your Resume: Customize your resume to align with the job you're applying for. This means highlighting skills and experiences that match the job description and company culture. Reflect on your unique value proposition that sets you apart from other candidates.
  3. Highlighting Personal Achievements: Instead of just listing job duties, focus on specific achievements that reflect your brand message. Use metrics and examples demonstrating your impact, like leading a project that resulted in a 20% increase in efficiency or mastering a new technology to drive innovation.
  4. Distinct Voice and Tone: Your resume should reflect your professional persona. For instance, if your brand is creative and innovative, use language that conveys these attributes without sacrificing professionalism. The tone of your resume should be a preview of your communication style.
  5. Via Portfolio/Personal Website: If applicable, include a link to your professional portfolio or personal website. This allows potential employers to see a more comprehensive view of your work, achievements, and the breadth of your professional brand.
  6. Personal Branding Statement: Consider including a personal branding statement at the top of your resume (resume summary or resume headline section). This is a concise sentence or two that captures the essence of your professional brand. For example, "Data-Driven Digital Marketer specialized in Conversion Rate Optimization, utilizing compelling content strategies and innovative business development to fuel digital growth and market dominance."

Personal Branding Example on a Resume

HR Manager focused on building strong teams and improving workplace culture for better performance and job satisfaction.

Content Marketing Specialist adept at SEO-driven content strategy, audience engagement through social media, and leveraging analytics for content optimization and ROI growth

Marketing Executive skilled in digital campaign management, market analysus and brand development strategies to drive market growth and customer engagement.

Social Media Manager expereinced in crafting engaging online content, growing social followings across platforms, and analyzing data to drive brand awareness and audience engagement.

Personal Branding in Your Cover Letter (With Examples)

To infuse personal branding into your cover letter effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Start with Your Unique Value: Begin your cover letter by clearly stating what makes you different and how this benefits the potential employer. Focus on your unique skills, experiences, or approach.
  2. Tell a Compelling Story: Use a brief anecdote from your career to illustrate your skills and achievements. This story should highlight your problem-solving abilities, leadership qualities, or other aspects central to your brand.
  3. Align with the Company's Values: Research the company and mention how your personal values and professional experience align with its mission and culture. This shows you're a great candidate on paper and a good fit for their team.
  4. Be Consistent: Ensure the tone and style of your cover letter match your resume and online professional profiles. This consistency helps to strengthen your personal brand across all touchpoints.
  5. Close with Impact: In concluding your cover letter, it's important to leave a strong impression that underscores your keen interest in the role and your readiness to make a meaningful contribution.  Invite them to review your portfolio or website for more examples of your work, if applicable.

Personal Branding Example in a Cover Letter

Penny Payments

[email protected]
601-4363-466

Professional Summary

Accounts Receivable Specialist with 5+ years of experience. Dedicated to creditor compliance, introducing invoice optimization and improvements to creditor contact protocols resulting in a 15% reduction in payment defaults equivalent to $75,000. Looking to take on new AR challenges and maximize payment received on terms at Lafayette Pharmaceuticals.

Work Experience

Isodyne Inc., Kansas City, MO
Accounts Receivable Specialist
January 2013–Present

  • Created new policies and procedures around AR, cash flow and reconciliation processes, reducing average invoice processing time by 20%.
  • Created new customer accounts and carried out associated data entry into central database, consistently beating targets for completion.
  • Identified errors in refund processing totaling $15,000. Carried out forensic investigation into process failures to ensure mistake not repeated.
  • Prepared new starter training materials for AR team. Responsible for onboarding new team members on AR principles, company policy, and duties.
  • Provided supporting documents for external audits in accordance with state and federal law.

Gallifrey Systems, Kansas City, MO
Accounts Receivable Clerk
February 2011–January 2013

  • Responsible for computerized and manual cash batch, data entry and sale journal.
  • Implemented processes to improve the workflow of AR roles on team, which improved time work and aged receivables by 85%.
  • Drafted accounting summary reports with income activity itemized by portfolio and maintained a record of error-free monthly reconciliations.
  • Performed AR duties including invoicing, investigating chargebacks, discrepancies and reconciliations.

Education

2011– 2014, BSBA in Accounting
University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO 64093

Skills

  • General ledger entry and maintenance
  • Data entry
  • Advanced Excel ability
  • Specialist Software: Xero, Sage Business Cloud, Quickbooks
  • Analytical skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Time management skills
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to work under pressure

Certifications

IOFM Accounts Receivable certification
NACPB Quickbooks certification

Volunteering

Volunteer bookkeeper for the Central Missouri Society for the Blind

For more in-depth tips on crafting a cover letter that stands out and effectively captures your personal brand, Cake Resume offers comprehensive resources and guidance. 

Some Tools and Platforms to Elevate Your Brand

Cake

This platform offers tools to create polished and professional resumes that stand out. Cake's resume builder and free resume templates and customization options allow you to design a resume that truly reflects your personal brand and professional achievements. It's a great starting point for anyone looking to make a strong first impression.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the premier professional networking site and is essential for personal branding. It lets you showcase your career history, achievements, and professional interests. You can participate in discussions, create content related to your field, and connect with other professionals to significantly boost your visibility and credibility within your industry.

Personal Websites

A website gives you complete control over your online presence and is a perfect platform to combine all aspects of your personal brand in one place. You can include your resume, portfolio, blog, testimonials, and contact information, ensuring visitors get a comprehensive view of your professional persona. Integrating your LinkedIn profile with your personal website can create a cohesive brand image, making it easier for potential employers or clients to understand your value proposition.

Medium or Similar Blogging Platforms

For people who are skilled at creating content, platforms such as Medium provide a place to publish articles that showcase your professional insights, opinions, and expertise. By regularly writing about topics in a specific industry and to a specific audience, you can position yourself as a thought leader and enhance your personal brand.

Other Channels

Depending on your industry, other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Behance can be useful for showcasing your work, sharing insights, and connecting with like-minded professionals and potential clients. Each platform offers unique ways to express your personal brand and engage with your audience.

How to Measure Your Success?

To measure your personal brand as a job seeker, you must first fully comprehend the journey to getting hired, which involves several stages, from awareness to advocacy. Here's how to approach each stage with your personal brand in mind:

  • Awareness: At this initial stage, track how often you reach out to your personal connection and how many new professional connections you make. Do people remember you after the first interaction? A good metric here is the number of LinkedIn profile views or connection requests you receive after networking events.
  • Consideration: When you've applied for a job, monitor the responses. Are you getting callbacks or emails for further discussions? This indicates that your personal brand is resonating with recruiters.
  • Application: The success rate of your applications can be a direct measure of your personal branding effectiveness. Are your applications resulting in interviews? Keep a record of the ratio between the number of applications sent and the number of interviews secured.
  • Onboarding: If you're getting job offers, it means your personal brand has successfully navigated the initial stages. After accepting an offer, reflect on how well you integrate into the new environment and how your personal brand aids in this process.
  • Advocacy: Finally, are your colleagues or superiors recommending you for projects or roles? Do you have any influential people in your connections that mention you? Internal recommendations and the ability to influence within your new workplace can be a strong indicator of a successful personal brand.

Each stage provides valuable feedback. If you're not advancing to the next stage as often as you'd like, it might be time to fine-tune your approach. This could mean updating your LinkedIn profile, enhancing your resume, or even adjusting the way you communicate your brand in interviews. By understanding your position in the job seeker journey, you can make informed decisions about strengthening and communicating your personal brand more effectively.

Key Takeaways

The importance of personal brands in the job market cannot be overstated. The defining factor sets you apart from the competition and tells the world who you are professionally. Take the initiative to craft and continually refine your personal brand with tools like Cake, which can help you present a professional image.

Although it might take you a lot of effort building a personal brand at first, once you have established a successful brand, you will open doors to new opportunities and pave the way for your career success.

With Cake, you can easily create a CV online, free download your CV in PDF formats, and utilize ATS-compliant templates to create a CV. Land your dream job with the best resume builder now!

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