Starting your professional life with only a resume is not going to cut it these days. We live in a cut-throat industry that requires more to be noticed by employers. Establishing a personal brand can help you stick out from candidates for your first entry-level job. Building your brand can be represented by the same way one would build something – one brick at a time. 

 

The four main “bricks,” if you will, can be categorized as sticking to your values, identifying key traits, determining your personal image, and building an online presence. After putting together the first four bricks, you can work on your end goal while still building, which is getting hired, noticed, or whatever it is that you are building for.

Brick 1: Stick to Your Values

When building a personal brand, many young professionals may try to reinvent themselves to be what they think employers want. Although, what is most important is sticking to your true self; employers want authenticity in their office, not a false personality trying to fit in. With that said, identify the values that are most important to your beliefs and identity. Maybe you are an incredibly honest person, use that to your advantage. Or, maybe you value creativity; use creativity as the base of your platform and brand. Sticking to your true self is most important when growing as a young professional. 

 

Brick 2: What are Your Key Traits?

This brick may sound redundant, but traits can be completely different from values. Identify your key traits that make you successful. Are you tenacious and reliable, or ethical and organized? Whatever your key traits may be, use them to your advantage by implementing them in your strategy. Add your traits within your resume skills. There are so many unique ways to introduce a more personal element to professional resources, take a look at this amazing personal website from a past GVPRSSA speaker and alum of our program, Brooke Rosier, for more insight. Build on the traits you possess and emphasize that in your brand. Employers may be looking for the exact traits you build on, you never know. 

 

Brick 3: Finding a Personal Image 

Identify what you want employers to see. It sounds simple, yet it is important to make sure you convey the message you intend to. Are you looking to build your brand on a care-free, free-spirit attitude or more of a studious, niche-market communicator? If you are struggling to determine your personal image, take a look at the brands or companies that you identify with most. What is their brand: professional, honest, comical, etc.? Comedical companies like Wendy’s or MoonPie exhibit their brand exceptionally well, as does Hey Dude Shoes by displaying their relaxed, comfortable point of view. 

 

Brick 4: Build an Online Presence 

What platforms should you use? Finding what works for you is what matters; if that is only LinkedIn, all of them, a website? These are all questions that are normal to ask when building your brand. Some professionals, like our recent alumna, Teagan Epley, use an instagram page, simply because it fits their work best, while others use a website, like GrandPR’s current Programming Director Carson Kunnen, for specific employment needs. Building a website is an investment but can pay off big in the form of employment, professional opportunities, and personal development as well! 

 

Get Hired, Noticed, or Whatever it is you want! 

For whatever reason you are wanting to build your personal brand, the four bricks above are a great place to start for your journey to professionalism.

Lindsay Corwin is a junior this year at Grand Valley State University. She is pursuing her degree in Advertising and Public relations, as well as a minor in Writing. Lindsay is currently the Chief Executive Officer of GrandPR and serves on the PRSSA executive board. In addition to Lindsay’s professional organizations, she works as a Digital Marketing Intern at Red66 Marketing in Grand Rapids, MI. Outside of work, Lindsay enjoys fulfilling her creative side by writing, baking, or drawing.