How to Turn Your Personal Brand into Professional Opportunity [EdSurge...

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How to Turn Your Personal Brand into Professional Opportunity [EdSurge Tips]

By Sam Peterson     Sep 25, 2018

How to Turn Your Personal Brand into Professional Opportunity [EdSurge Tips]

We hear a lot about branding these days, mostly in the form of tips to help companies fashion a public persona. But what can you learn from the corporate world’s attempts to humanize itself? More to the point, how can you leverage that into creating an authentic personal brand?

Personal branding tells your story in ways that words alone can’t fully capture. A resume, business cards, LinkedIn profile...these are all required tools in the professional utility belt. Yet, they do little to complete the picture of who you really are: your capabilities, convictions, and character.

Success—at any stage of life—means standing apart from the crowd. The pattern begins taking shape in elementary school (Remember that first day in PE class anxiously waiting to be picked for a kickball team?), and it carries right on past college as we all clamor to get our resume to the top of the stack, hoping that we somehow differentiated ourselves enough to land an interview for our dream job. In every case, our reputation precedes us, and if we’re to have even the slightest influence upon fate, it’s up to us to build and maintain that reputation—in other words, the personal brand.

Though it can be broken down into an infinitely complex network of procedures, the basic process of branding yourself is fairly simple:

Creation

Establish an authentic presence on a variety of online platforms. This doesn’t mean you need to open an account on every new networking site that crops up. Be meticulous and methodical, and develop a profile that clearly demonstrates your values, both in work and life. (Don’t forget to exorcise the demons of your digital past while you’re at it. Clean up or close down any old accounts that aren’t an accurate depiction of who you are now.)

Before you start posting, it’s good to have a clear sense of your intended objective. What are your goals, interests, talents, experience, accomplishments? Factor these into all of your posts to ensure that your brand fully represents you.

Credibility

Strengthen your brand by…

  • Releasing thoughtful content in your area(s) of expertise - Vary your format to suit the platform, and craft your content according to the audience you want to reach.
  • Building a network of appropriate professional and personal connections - Friends and acquaintances are a great place to start, but be sure to connect with companies and key players who have an established presence in the space you’d like to occupy. (And be on the lookout for folks who bridge the gap between personal and professional.)
  • Interacting with your network - Don’t limit yourself to posting original content on your pages and hoping it’s seen by others. Get involved in the discussion wherever it’s happening. Ask questions, offer advice, share your story, and encourage others to do the same.

Cultivation

This is mostly a matter of figuring out what’s working and doing more of the same. Look for ways to improve the quality, variety, and engagement of your content. Continue to build and nurture relationships. Refine your personal brand, and your reputation will start to do the talking for you.

A good brand naturally creates opportunities. A bad brand diminishes them. Unfortunately, so does a nonexistent brand, which means opting out isn’t really an option. Think of personal branding as an investment in future you, and if you’re not already, start dedicating a portion of your job-seeking energy to curating that brand now. We promise, it'll pay dividends later. And it’s never too late to start (or start over).

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