Personal branding has become quite the buzzword these days. But what is a personal brand? How do you use it in your career? And how do you make sure you don’t becoming a narcissistic crazy person in the process?

Let’s get down to the basics:

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is the practice of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a candidate on the job hunt, or an employee at a company, you can benefit from figuring out what your personal brand is and how to share it. Quite frankly, it is THE modern day tool to help differentiate yourself in a very saturated marketplace.

How do you create one?

First you need to ask yourself, “What is my unique value proposition?” The answer to this question should always be results-focused with an understanding of your audience. So, if you’re an entrepreneur, you should be thinking about how you can specifically help a potential client with your products or services. As a career coach, my personal brand goes something like this:

“I help mid-to-senior level professionals become irresistible to hiring managers by clarifying their next career move, crafting their personal brand, and giving them a tested strategy to land their dream job.”

You can see I’ve defined who I help, the results I can produce, and how I do it.

If you’re in a regular 9-to-5 job, you can construct your personal brand similarly. For example, I have a client who is a senior brand manager at a well-known CPG company looking to make a shift. We crafted his personal brand to go something like this:

“With 20+ years of CPG experience – touching almost every aisle of the grocery store – I am known for my innate ability to strategically move household name brands forward in profit and volume.”

We paid careful attention to who his audience would be, where he’s provided value in the past, and what he’s looking to do in the future.

Quick tip:
If you’re a 9-to-5’r, your future boss or current boss is going to care about you producing one of three results: making the company more money, saving the company money, or making someone’s life easier. If you’re stuck on which “result” you’re producing, it’s probably one of those three!

Where do you share it?

Share where your audience is. So that could be via social media, at a networking event, or in an interview. From the social media standpoint, I’m incredibly partial to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a fabulous, less saturated place to communicate your value proposition from a career standpoint. Now, most people gravitate towards Instagram when they think of their personal brand and that can definitely be a tool. It honestly just depends on who you’re trying to “market” your personal brand to. That may mean Instagram or it may mean Facebook or it may mean LinkedIn. Sometimes it means creating content around your brand (and yes, you can do this if you’re a traditional job seeker!). Sometimes it means sharing your branded career statement at a family gathering when someone asks you, “So what do you do?” Whatever it is, just make sure the messaging is consistent!

Practical tip:
Confused on how to use LinkedIn? Use your personal branded career statement in your LinkedIn summary.

How do you do it humbly?

There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. But, if you’re asking the question, “Am I being narcissistic?” in the first place, well, it usually means you aren’t. Self awareness is the first key to sharing your personal brand in a non-obnoxious way. I tell my clients to state your skills, strengths and value in a matter-of-fact way. The best way to act humbly is to tell the truth about who you are in your personal brand and don’t fixate on some counterfeit version of yourself that you think the world wants to see. Just be you.

Plus, your strengths were God-given! When you share from that posture, you should naturally be in a state of humility and gratitude.

Practical tip:
Ask a trusted friend, coworker or coach if your personal brand comes across negatively. They may actually tell you that you aren’t bragging enough about yourself!

In a world of Insta-famous influencers and content marketing junkies, building a personal brand can feel daunting. But with a few mindset shifts, you’ll be on your way to using this powerful tool for your career!