What is Your Personal Brand?

What I mean is, you can't think of personal branding in all the same ways you would think when marketing a business. The main reason for this is that marketing is a huge task with a lot of funding behind it. If you try to market yourself in the same way you would market a business you are likely going to wear yourself out. Another concern with treating yourself like a business is that you will lose your sense of authenticity. To truly brand yourself properly, you need to come off as genuine. If you aren't genuine, you are giving yourself a bad reputation, a bad brand.

Personal branding is Not Marketing

4 Easy ways to Start Branding Today


You have probably heard the phrase, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," when people have talked about the benefits of networking. I would like to counter that it is not about who you know, but about who knows you; more specifically it is about who knows what you can do and do well. Let me explain with a short story time.

I have not gone through a traditional hiring process since around 2016. Once I got into my previous place of employment, I was recommended for jobs based on reputation alone. Currently, I am about to celebrate my two-year work anniversary in a position I obtained simply by figuring out how to stand out in online communities. For Millennials and older Gen Z, we have all been trained since high school to polish our resumes, prepare for panel interviews, and craft our elevator speeches. All of these are incredible tools, but they do not teach you how to create opportunities to capitalize on your practical strengths. Too many people are working towards a raise that might never come when they could be finding a work environment where they truly thrive.

Personal branding is a gateway to better employment

Your personal brand, in short, is your reputation. Consider this, if someone asked one of your coworkers what type of person you are, would they describe you as hardworking? diligent? considerate? Everyday you make decisions about how you will present yourself to the world around you, and with each choice you create your own personal brand.

What does this mean for you?

Frustrating as it is, every person you interact with is making decisions about what type of person you are and what you are capable of doing. As someone with anxiety, this can be almost crippling to think about, after all, how can you make sure you are making the right decisions? How do you make sure you brand yourself the right way? The trick is to truly understand what branding is and how to use it to your advantage. 

What is Personal branding?

Let's be honest, branding is kind of a scary word that most people don't really understand unless you have a job in marketing or design. Personal branding, however, is an important tool for everyone in any field, regardless of your specific job. I'm here to tell you that you don't need to be afraid of personal branding. In this article, you will learn what personal branding is, what it isn't, and (as an added bonus) four easy ways you can start shaping your personal brand right away.

  1. Rethink Branding - When people explain that personal branding is building up your online and offline reputation, it is easy to get stressed out, especially if you are neurodivergent. The first thing you need to do is let go of the idea that there is someone you are supposed to be because there isn't. There is no one-size fits all branding template. You start branding yourself when you start stepping into your own identity and individuality.
  2. List Out What Makes You Unique - For me, I'm a big fan of the sticky note method. Some people like to look at their resumes, others like to write a list on paper or a document, but my brain needs more flexibility than that. I write down my interests, skills, and areas of expertise on sticky notes and arrange them on a wall in a way that makes sense to me. As I freely move sticky notes around, patterns start to form and I begin to see the overlap of what I like and what I can do. As you do this, you will find out what it is that only you can bring to the table.
  3. Clean-up Your Digital Footprint - Social media platforms are great tools for connecting with others and getting your name out there, but it can also hold you back. Take a little time to go through your social media pages and declutter your page. Delete or archive things that don't align with the authentic version of you that you want to showcase right now, (our teen selves posted some random stuff back in the day).
  4. Talk About Your Interests - No, not in the awkward mock-interview-elevator-pitch sort of way. As I said, social media is a great tool. If you have realized you have a niche area of interest or expertise, post about it. The only way to find the people who need your unique perspective is if you open your mouth. You can post a video, a story, or even a blog ;). This all goes for in-person conversations too. 

Personal branding is the power to shape how people perceive you and that power is already in your hands. Rather than thinking of branding as some daunting thing that only big businesses can do, start considering ways that you can start showcasing your individuality today. Don't be afraid to let yourself shine. When you start feeling like you don't fit into the corporate box, remember that you have the power to find yourself a better box. Better yet, you'll find a way to build a custom-tailored space, made just for you.

J. E. Forrest

Thanks for reading! 

In an ideal world, what three words would you want other people to use to describe you? Share this blog post to your social media with those three words in the description.

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