Building Your Personal Brand

Building your personal brand

In this day and age, how we present and market ourselves to potential employers and colleagues has completely changed.  Having a resume and fancy business card are just the initial steps of branding and promoting the best possible you.

As a fairly recent graduate who is currently in a limbo of sorts (I have a college degree – now what?!), I find myself constantly thinking about the personal brand that I am building and how I want to be perceived in the “real” world.

Before I venture off any further, I guess that I should clarify what I mean when I say “building your personal brand.”  While branding can be synonymous with starting a business and being an entrepreneur, that’s not the topic of my discussion.  My definition of personal brand encompasses everything from your personal career objectives to your online presence.   The ultimate goal:  having a brand that gives you instant name recognition.  Regardless of your career field or area of studies, all lemon ladies should put their best foot forward and create the best possible brand they know.

Luckily, creating a brand isn’t as scary or daunting a task as one would think.  Here are some steps that will start you off in the right direction.

  1. Branding 101- First things first, you need to figure out what’s at the core of your brand.  A major part of creating a brand is knowing yourself and what you stand for.  If you can’t pinpoint what your niche is, then how will anyone else be able to?  Not sure where to begin?  Devote an entire notebook for brainstorming what your brand should be (think words, quotes, sketches, etc.) and everything will fall into place.  This blueprint of your thoughts will keep you inspired and allow for your brand to reach its full potential.
  2. Present a consistent theme- Once you’ve formulated your brand, the next step is to settle on colors, graphics and, most importantly, your voice.  If someone can think of your name and instantly conjure up images of your personal brand, then you’ve definitely succeeded. If you’re looking for a stellar example of branding “done right,” just check out Sweet Lemon Magazine’s recent makeover.  The new logo and website is fresh, clean, modern and to be quite frank, so pretty to look at!  The bright shade of yellow, consistent theme of lemons and trending hash tags (#lemonlove, #whenlifeTHROWSyoulemons) is in your face, but in a good way.  After checking out Sweet Lemon’s latest issue and reading the posts on this blog, it’s hard to not want to come back for more.  And that, ladies, is proof that we’ve got a standout BRAND on our hands!
  3. Online portfolio- Whether you’re a writer, graphic designer or entrepreneur, a formal website showing off your work and skills is imperative. Consider your online portfolio as a resume, but more interactive.  While a resume boils down to a simple sheet of paper listing your accomplishments, career objectives, etc., a portfolio is an online lookbook of your best work.  A successful portfolio should be visually pleasing and leave a lasting impression on all those who view it.
  4. Network, network, network - Once you’ve formulated your brand, and it’s out there for all of the world to see, it’s time to make connections. Whether it be through social media or professional outreach groups, it’s critical to put yourself out there.  After all, a brand can only reach greatness if people know about it!

Odds are, as smart and savvy Sweet Lemon readers, you’re probably already on your way to building your personal brand.  By taking these small steps, and tweaking the ground work you’ve laid, you’ll be well on your way!


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