When I used to think of personal branding, I thought of logos and colors.
But as I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve realized it’s WAY more than that. And you don’t need to be a brand expert or intense marketing guru to have a strong personal brand.
Your personal brand is the feeling you leave people with when you say goodbye - do they feel inspired or relieved when the call ends? The gut reaction that people have when your name pops on their feed.
That’s what personal branding is, and how you need to be thinking about it - especially when job hunting.
Here are 3 things you can do TODAY to improve your personal branding:
1. Remove any kind of language that emphasizes your lack of experience:
- Bootcamp grad
- Recent grad
- Transitioning/emerging/new * insert job title here *
- Your age
- New to * insert industry *
Don’t volunteer extra info that indicates you’re new in town. It’s good to be humbled that you don’t know anything yet, but this gives people an extra reminder that you lack experience. Recruiters can see from your Linkedin or resume how long you’ve been in the field so you don’t need to remind them in your headline, bio, or “About” page.
2. Pick a really specific instance or interest and tell us about it.
Cover up your name in your bio - read it out loud. If it sounds like you could swap someone else’s name and it would still apply… it’s too generic and unmemorable.
Pick something really specific, it doesn’t have to be professional…just something that is so…you - and tell us about it. For me, I always like to talk about why I got into UX. I heard about a story where an experience design team transformed an MRI machine in a children’s oncology wing into a pirate ship. It turned a scary experience at a hospital into a fun adventure for a kid. That really stuck with me and I knew this was the kind of work I wanted to be a part of. I like to tell that story for a few reasons:
- It’s memorable because hey, how often do we talk about pirate ships?
- I can showcase my storytelling skills.
- The other person can learn about why I started design.
- The other person understands my values and curiosities.
So what’s your pirate ship?
3. Use the Linkedin cover photo feature.
If you’re not a designer, make one in Canva. Add your website and question or line about what you value/are passionate about. 100% of the people that land on your page will see it, they have to - it’s on top, so don’t waste this real estate.
Personal branding is something we all have, whether we like it or not. So we might as well take control over what it says. You’re a cool person, now’s the time to let others see that too.
You got this!