It’s true that you will change 1 million times over through the defining decade that is your twenties. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t start to be smart about the way you present yourself to the world. “Personal Branding” is something successful people do to clarify their life purpose for those they meet, sometimes without having to say a word.
I want you to harness your inner Clarissa (Explains It All) and start showing the world your badassery in your personal, professional, and cyber worlds. Let’s do this!
This is the most fun but elusive arena to develop your branding. Still, I know you can think of a few people you know who totally nail it. It appears they were born with a certain style. You know exactly what kind of present to get them for their birthday and specific things remind you of them. This is not an accident, I promise you. These people thoughtfully curated the way they present themselves and because of it, now enjoy the benefits of having an unmistakeable brand. Here are some things you can do to get on their level:
1. Create your Personal Mission Statement. I’m going to keep repeating it because there is NOTHING more impressive than a twentysomething with a clear mission. If you can clearly and concisely explain to someone what your life purpose is, you are already WAY ahead of the game. Once you find it, I suggest you memorize it. I keep mine in my wallet as a reminder to stay on purpose.
2. Look the part. One of the best ways to let people know who you are is to develop your own personal style of dress. What kind of brand are you creating? Professional? Sporty? Casual? Chic? DRESS THAT WAY! Janelle Monae (right) is the Queen of personal branding. Even outside of her performances, she ONLY wears black, white & red. She even had a flawless response to an interviewers question about her sexual orientation, intentionally created by her androgynous fashion choices. Whatever your style, take a note from Janelle and be impeccable in your execution!
Depending on how old you are and what professional field you’re in, your professional branding is going to vary but here are some great places to start.
1. Step up your Resume Game. If you are a go-getter, your resumes are going to be littered across the country (World, even!) along with stacks upon stacks of your competitors’. Give yourself a slight edge by creating a resume that matches your Personal Brand. If you work in a creative industry you should already have this, but if not, there are plenty of ways to make yours stand out.
♦ Format it in a non-standard way like these!
♦ Make an online CV. Learn how to make one through Wix.com.
2. Carry Business Cards Even if you are a server at a restaurant you should definitely consider the power of a “business” card. Your brand is not just who you presently are, but who you are on a mission to be. Handing out a business card might seem like something only your dad’s friends do, but I hate to break it to you… now you’re an adult too. Get to know yourself better, decide who you want to be, and put it on hundreds of small pieces of paper that you can spread like the wildfire brand that you are going to grow. Here are some fun examples to get your juices flowing. But keep in mind that if you are still young, a simplistic name, logo, and web address to your online CV might be the way to go!
I am a little bit frightened by the potential to propel or destroy your brand using social media. Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider before you take your brand public:
- Post something that conflicts with your brand. Realize that just because your personal & professional accounts may be separate, doesn’t mean it is for the public. They will treat everything you post as one brand, regardless of which page you are posting on. Ex. Are you someone who promotes health & wellness? Don’t post pictures of you blackout drunk on your personal page. Scratch that. Don’t post pictures of you blackout drunk, period. (Unless your life purpose is to be on Girls Gone Wild. In which case, best of luck with your future.)
- Don’t complain or bash others on social media. Putting out negativity on your social media pages is going to attract more negativity. I think it was Mother Goose who once said, and I’m paraphrasing, “If you don’t have anything nice to say on social media, don’t say anything at all… on social media.”
- Use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & Other Accounts to Expand Your Brand’s Audience Once you have a clear vision, feel free to go crazy promoting your brand. I still suggest you have a close friend give you a thumbs up if you are new to social media. The social decorum can be tricky to navigate and you don’t want to give your brand a bad reputation, especially before people have gotten to know your core values.
Use Pictures & Words to educate, inspire, gather and give a sneak peek to your followers! Our generation has the privilege of addressing a much larger audience than anyone who came before us. Take full advantage of social media platforms by giving the world everything your brand has to offer. Teach them! Show them beauty or make them laugh! Call them to action! Or best of all, every once in a while give them a tasteful “behind-the-scenes” look at who you are with the curtain drawn back. With the right brand, this strategy has LIMITLESS POTENTIAL.
Personal branding is complex! It takes time, planning, and meticulous execution. But I have faith in you. Share your branding secrets and struggles below and let’s start showing the world more of who we want to be!