As you map out your career goals for 2024, it may help to also invest in your professional image. Alternatively known as your “personal brand”, this acts as a distinct signature that sets you apart from others in the modern job market. When done right, you may just gain the recognition necessary to move up in your industry.
Below, we discuss the importance of establishing a memorable personal brand, the best ways to do so, and how a course with Upskilled can help.
Why have a personal brand?
Encompassing your skills, values, and professional identity – a distinctive personal brand paints a unique picture of who you are in your career, leaving a lasting impression on employers and colleagues alike. It allows you to showcase your unique strengths and attributes, making it easier for potential companies to recognise your value in the job market. Well-crafted branding will also go beyond mere qualifications and provide a more comprehensive story around your character and experience; offering a much more compelling “sell” for employers compared to a traditional CV.
Additionally, a personal brand positions you as an authority in your chosen field, helping foster trust and credibility among your peers and superiors.
Build your personal brand for 2024: A step-by-step guide
Step 1: Assess your current skills and career goals
To start, take the time to explore your career goals and aspirations. This could help create a clear picture of the career path you wish to pursue. Identify your values and what matters most in your professional life, as aligning your brand to your personal beliefs adds authenticity and resonance.
From here, you could then consider your target audience or industry. Be sure to highlight aspects of your personal brand that best meet the expectations and values of those you wish to connect with in your field. At the same time, take stock of your current skill set. Evaluate both your technical and soft skills, pinpointing your strengths and any areas for improvement.
Lastly, you may want to prepare an “elevator pitch” of your personal brand. This could help you effectively communicate your value and what you stand for in various professional settings – whether at networking events, job interviews, or casual conversations with peers.
Step 2: Create your personal story
Your “personal story” or narrative weaves together your unique personality, experiences, and what sets you apart in your industry. This is your opportunity to share your professional journey with others, adding a much more relatable or “humanizing” element to your personal brand. You needn’t be a writing expert, either – what’s important is ensuring your tone of voice and character shine through your words (or visuals). Whether you’re naturally humorous, insightful, or pragmatic, giving your story your own, authentic touch can help set you apart from the generic.
It's important to also consider the various mediums available to help craft your narrative. You may wish to tell your story through a website, one that serves as a central hub showcasing your accomplishments and aspirations. Video content through platforms such as YouTube or LinkedIn is another option, offering a more dynamic, visual way of showcasing your personality. Social media is also useful in providing bite-sized glimpses into your daily professional life, helping you maintain a sense of ongoing connection with your audience. Take the time to experiment with these different channels to find one that best fits your strengths and preferences.
Step 3: Communicate your brand on social media
With social media as an everyday staple, leveraging its platforms for your personal brand could do wonders in connecting with your target audience. Statistics show that social media is now a key source of information for 61.5% of Australians (aged 16 to 64), marking a 5.9% increase from the previous year. Additionally, a third of internet users have reported using social media for conducting brand and product research.
There are varying platforms in this space for showcasing different sides of your personal brand. Twitter, for instance, enables concise and real-time updates, making it useful for sharing industry insights, engaging in conversations, and positioning yourself as a thought leader. Instagram, on the other hand, offers a visual canvas to portray a more personal side to your brand – allowing you to get creative with imagery, stories, and highlights that reflect your journey and values.
Whichever platforms you choose to use, it’s important to also stay authentic to who you are and what you stand for. This helps you build trust with your audience and allows you to leave a more lasting, memorable impact.
Step 4: Make connections
Alongside marketing yourself, taking the time to forge online connections is also crucial to getting your personal brand out there. Doing so may not only expand your network, but may also uncover new job opportunities.
LinkedIn, in particular, is an increasingly popular source for professional networking in the online space. It offers a hub for connecting with industry peers, mentors, and potential employers; as well as gaining insights into industry trends and learning from veterans in the field. Leveraging platforms such as this can help amplify your visibility on the job market, increasing the likelihood of stumbling upon openings that best align with your skills and aspirations.
Moreover, getting to know other like-minded people online grants you the opportunity of learning from others who have established an impactful personal brand themselves. By connecting with seasoned professionals, you may just gain access to their experiences, challenges, and the tactics that contributed to their career success. This could allow you to fine-tune your personal brand strategy accordingly, taking from the practical lessons of those who’ve walked a similar path.
Looking to stand out in 2024?
Having a personal brand not only offers a quick view of your skills and experience – it also gives you the chance to make a lasting first impression.
Upskilled currently offers a Personal Branding Short Course (SMC-PB), designed to help students build their professional brand and image for the online space. Through practical lessons on marketing strategies, social media, SEO, and more, this course could set you well on your way to crafting a brand identity employers won’t forget. For those seeking a more technical look into social media marketing, there are also short courses available on YouTube marketing, Facebook marketing, LinkedIn marketing, and the general essentials of social media. Best of all, each program is delivered online, helping you train at a time, place, and pace that suits your needs best.
Start building your personal brand for the new year, and enquire with us on a course today.