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How to advance your career by curating a personal brand

Learn why building a personal brand is critical for career advancement and personal development

May 4, 2021

Graphic designer working on colour selection

When a hiring manager looks at you as a candidate, how do you show up in their eyes? What first impression and message do you project? What personal brand do you convey?

It’s rare that we stop and think about who we are, who we want to be and how we want to be viewed. Self-reflection is essential for building a personal brand, which, in turn, is critical for career advancement and personal development.

Let’s break it down—what is a personal brand?

Your personal brand is how you market the unique value you bring to a professional situation. It’s how you differentiate yourself and stand out among others. Ultimately, it’s how you show up in the world.

“It represents yourself and how you want others to see you,” says TEKsystems Digital Recruitment Manager Ellen Cleary. “It’s both professional and personal. Think: your digital presence, how you come across in conversations, how you carry yourself, your tone in emails. Any form of communication or action establishes your personal brand.”

Why does it really matter?

If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will. Having a powerful—and visible—personal brand gives you an advantage in almost every aspect of your professional life. A personal brand puts you in control of your image and career trajectory. If you’re intentional about the way you’re viewed, you can have more impact over how others perceive you and manifest your desired outcomes.

“A personal brand also articulates aspects of your personality and career aspirations that a resume cannot—nontangibles that make you invaluable to an organisation,” says Katherine Stockton, TEKsystems Digital Recruitment Manager. “Owning your strengths and what you bring to the table will allow others to see those traits and maybe see an opportunity for you that your resume wouldn't have conveyed.”

How do you create your personal brand?

We thrive when operating in our strengths, which is why building a personal brand requires learning what you’re good at and embracing it. “Think through your strengths, career achievements, work experiences, certifications, values and characteristics,” suggests Jess Walther, TEKsystems Recruitment Manager. What do you value? What are your goals? Jot down thoughts around who you want to be.

Pro tip: Ask a few friends or family members to send you core values and key attributes that define you. Here are some suggested questions to get your mind in the right place:

  • What are your passions? The things you love doing?
  • What are some key attributes that describe you and your style?

“Combine this information into a personal statement around who you are and where you are headed,” says Stockton. A personal brand statement organises your “essence” into something succinct and digestible. It highlights the core of what you’re known for. This statement will be your guiding light as you consider new job opportunities and form your career path.

Here’s an example of a brand statement:

“I am an authentic, naturally curious learner with the ability to form connections with people and events. My mission in life is to make the world a better place. I value difference and creative problem-solving. I create engaging and impactful solutions. I am able to build strong relationships by being compassionate and truly investing in people.”

Want to get even more concise? Here’s a more condensed brand tagline from the above example:

“Authentic, compassionate, inquisitive learner with gift for finding connections, as well as a passion for creating success and inspiring performance.”

The fun part—implement your brand

Review your resume, portfolio and LinkedIn. Does the language match your personal brand statement? Are there better ways to colour in your personal brand? How you speak about yourself online and in person must always coincide with your brand statement.

Font selection, colour choices and artistic language are the fine details that visually show who you are as a person,” says Stockton.

“Don’t be afraid of shedding light on your weaknesses,” says Walther. People like seeing how you’ve overcome obstacles and grown as a person and professional. Your resume and portfolio should contain human elements.

Now what?

New opportunities await! Often, having a strong internet presence and powerful, authentic brand will attract prospective employers. “It’s attractive to see someone have an established brand that showcases consistency,” says Cleary.

Ready to build your personal brand? Learn more on why authenticity will take your career to the next level.

Ellen Cleary serves as a Recruitment Manager for TEKsystems Digital. She is responsible for providing recruiting management, guidance and support to the TEKsystems Digital recruiting teams across the country to ensure TEKsystems Digital consultants have the best job opportunities, at all times.

Katherine Stockton serves as a Recruitment Manager for TEKsystems Digital. She focuses on building recruiting teams and strategies across the eastern half of the country that support TEKsystems’ diverse and dynamic customer base. Katherine is passionate about connecting digital and creative marketing professionals with the right opportunities to grow their careers.

Jess Walther serves as the Manager for TEKsystems’ Midwest Recruiting Centre, leading a team of recruitment professionals that focus on advancing the careers of technical professionals. He’s worked in a variety of roles at TEKsystems, all focusing on career and hiring advisement. Jess has a passion for educating professionals on how best to progress their careers forward, along with educating companies on how best to attract and retain the most in-demand talent.