Building and Perfecting Your Personal Brand

Laura Glading

By Laura Glading, Charlotte Campus Director of Academic Affairs

Apple “thinks differently.” Burger King “does it your way.” Budweiser is “the king of beers.” These brands have established a clear idea of who they are and how they want to be seen. So, what brand have you established for yourself?

Branding is not just a concept for corporations or products; it is a great tool to use as you begin searching for employment. Just like big companies, you need to establish a clear, targeted brand when interviewing…and it can make the difference between being memorable or muddled.

Start by reviewing your resume. What are some of the key skills, experiences, and qualities you see there? Do you see some repeated over and over again? These can form the foundation of your brand. Additionally, ask those who have worked with you in the past about your strongest qualities. And, lastly, review employment sites. What qualities have you found you hold that also are listed in the job listings?

Now, you are ready to begin building your brand.

Make a list of the strongest three to five qualities you have found about yourself. For each one, come up with at least three examples or stories of when you have displayed that quality. Focus on work examples, but personal examples can also be helpful. The more you practice telling these stories, the easier it will be to tell them in an interview.

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Next, create an elevator speech. This should be a one- to three-minute overview of the key qualities of your brand as well as a brief overview of your education and experience. If you happen to get on an elevator with a prospective employer, this should be the key information you would want them to know before the elevator doors opens again. This can also be a great opening statement when meeting employers at career fairs, and can be used to answer the dreaded “Tell me about yourself” interview question.

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Lastly, reinforce your brand. The more you use and refer to the qualities in your brand, the more natural it becomes. Branding is all about highlighting your key qualities, so get focused, and shine!