Building a personal brand is more important than ever in an increasingly competitive job market. This Forbes article outlines how personal branding helped Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer move from a top position at Google to the top position at Yahoo.
Personal branding can enhance how others perceive you, and can help set you up for a lifelong career doing what you love. Building your personal brand, though, takes time, effort, and lots of hard thinking.
If you’re ready to launch forward on your journey to building your personal brand, get some help along the way from these five people:
1. Your closest friend
The first step in building your personal brand, according to master personal branding expert Dan Schawbel, is to discover what your brand is. And that means learning what others think about you.
In fact, the best place to begin building your brand is to create a one-line statement about who you are and what you do. And the best way to figure that out is to consult with your closest friend or family member. Talk to people who know you well about how they perceive you, and you’ll start to get an idea of your personal brand.
2. Your business associates and coworkers
One caveat with talking to close friends and family members: they may not fully understand what you do and who you are on a professional level. And although your personal brand should integrate every part of your life, it’s really the most relevant in your career.
So don’t just rely on input from close friends. Instead, talk to business associates, former and current employers, coworkers, and even clients about how they perceive you. Ask for feedback, or even for a summary statement of what these people think of when they think of you.
3. A personal shopper
One big part of your personal brand is your wardrobe – especially your professional wardrobe. Unfortunately, many of us have difficulty choosing clothing that is professional while expressing our unique personalities.
A personal shopper helps you choose clothing that plays up your best features, highlights your personality, and helps you look and feel great every day. Yes, shopping with a personal shopper is a bit more expensive, but wouldn’t you rather spend more money on clothes that really suit you, instead of just winding up with run-of-the-mill clothes that don’t quite work?
4. A graphic designer
Another huge part of personal branding in today’s connected online world is your personal website, LinkedIn profile, and Facebook page. Depending on your industry, you may need to be on Twitter, too.
The best way to brand all these sites and pages is with a personalized design that works across them all. Hire a professional graphic designer to design your personal website (or at least a unique header to fit into a more generic theme), your Facebook timeline cover, your Twitter background, and your business cards. If everything matches, your personal brand will become as visually recognizable as the McDonald’s and Bank of America logos to your target market.
5. A writer/editor
While you’re polishing up the look and feel of your Facebook page, website, and business cards, don’t forget about the language of these sites. Unless you’re a writer or editor by trade, chances are that you could use some help branding your website, portfolio, and resume through words.
You can actually hire a writer or editor through websites like Elance, or ask around to see if there are any local freelancers who could help you with your branding. Great writing will help express your personality and professional goals, while letting your site or resume stand out from the rest.
Some of these personal branding helpers are free, while others may charge a fee. But you should consider this investment in your personal brand to be an investment in your future success, which can pay off many-fold in the future.