Huffpost Business
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Colette A.M.Phillips Headshot

You Are Your Brand!

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

People are drawn to, and influenced by, individuals who communicate authentically, connect with people, and have immediate impact. In today's highly competitive workplace and marketplace, establishing and building a personal brand is a critical success factor to career and business advancement. Everyone, whether you recognize it or not, already has a "personal brand." Remember, if you don't brand yourself, others will do it for you.

You are the president of your life. When it comes to your career and/or small business you can borrow a marketing page from corporate America. Each person regardless of age, title or the industry/business they are in, need to understand the importance of branding. Whether you are a recent graduate seeking a job, a seasoned professional climbing the corporate ladder or an entrepreneur building a business, branding is essential to your career or business success and advancement. It defines who you are and what distinguishes you from others and the value you bring to a situation.

Here Are Useful Tips for Building a Strong and Sustainable Personal Brand

Leverage Your Accomplishments

Accomplishments are the foundation of your career brand, so leverage them to build your reputation. Don't just do your job; be willing to take on challenging assignments as well as good the extra mile. In today's economy many people are working part time or two-thirds time. Consider freelancing or consulting as a way to build your portfolio. Use volunteering to gain experience. If you're a student, seek out multiple internships.

Enhance Your Skill Sets

Getting additional education can greatly enhance your career brand. It may be hard in terms of time and finances, but find a way to do it. If your employer offers an educational reimbursement benefit, take advantage of that benefit as well as attend workshops and seminars in your area of expertise that can help you enhance your skill sets. In today's digital environment you don't need to leave your desk, you can participate in webinars and online courses.

Promote Yourself

You may have an amazing brand, but if no one knows about it, you are not going to have much success advancing your career, growing your business or landing your dream job. No one has more reasons to promote your brand than you. Don't be too modest or shy when it comes to your brand. Yes, there's a thin line between obnoxious bragging and strategic self-promoting -- and you need to learn the difference. My advice, better to err on the side of promoting your brand than not.

For Job Seekers-- Use Resume as Your Branding Tool

  • For job seekers and career changers your resume is your best branding tool .
  • Include a positioning statement (qualifications summary) and be sure to list all your key accomplishments, skills, and education.
For Mid level, Senior Executives or Entrepreneurs Be an Expert in Your Field
  • If you are mid level or senior executive or a small business owner remember on of the most effective ways to build credibility for your personal brand is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Become a subject matter expert by offering your thoughts, ideas, and opinions to journalists and reporters. You may even want to consider self-publishing.

Leverage Social Media

You can start a blog or create a professional website where you can publish all your articles and speeches. Write an articles or op-eds (opinion editorials) about the subject matter you know best and publish them in trade or business media outlets. Seek out conferences and meetings where you can serve as an expert. Promote your awards and other recognition that can help position you as an expert. Consider podcasting or uploading your speech on YouTube. Better yet, how about a TED Talk!

Build Relationships Through Networking

Word of mouth is an effective and credible endorsement tool, because it defines how you are perceived. Nothing is more powerful in building your brand than what your network of contacts -- your friends, colleagues, customers, clients, current and former bosses -- say about you. Borrow a page from the best brand builders. Expand your network both online (LinkedIn; Facebook;) and off line by attending select networking events and researching new professional and affinity groups that are relevant to your industry. Having a strong network requires relationship building. Stay plugged into your network and share your successes with them. Remember Your Networth is Your Network

Some additional Branding-Building Advice

Once you identify and build your brand, remember to continue strengthening and protecting it. There will always be competing brands (other companies, job-seekers executives) ready to fill any gap you leave behind. Remember, you are the CEO of the Brand Called You and the more you do to cultivate your personal brand, the more successful you'll be with your current employer, growing your business or landing that dream job.