Building Your Personal Brand
By Lexie White
As someone who’s just starting to brand herself professionally and personally, one of the best tips I’ve ever received was “Don’t be strict and don’t be afraid. Post what makes you happy, makes you laugh, inspires you, makes you think and whatever you feel is important to have linked to you.”
Alona Elkayam, founder of The Brandinista, was the first who brought this idea to my attention. Her advice that “a personal brand and a professional brand are connected” made me rethink my online identity and the connection between the two.
Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich, President of Masthead Media Company, reiterates this with her central idea that business doesn’t define you. There are an undeniable amount of things that contribute to your brand. While it is important to be professional, you also have to be yourself.
There’s no point in having a brand if it doesn’t portray the person behind it. This is something many of us struggle with as it can be difficult to decide what to post and what not. It’s obvious when a person is being transparent, and it isn’t just about what you see on a screen or piece of paper — it’s what you bring to a room.
Where do you draw the line between your professional and normal self? As Tanya Jones, Career Coach and Executive Producer for Meredith, sees it, your “personal brand should be an essence of who you are.” Obviously stay conscious of what you’re posting, writing, saying, doing and how you’re acting — but don’t constrict yourself. If you’re afraid to post about a topic that you feel strongly about because a future employer may not agree with it, keep in mind that maybe you don’t want to work for someone whose values don’t align with yours. A difference of opinion is a fantastic thing to have, but if you’re afraid to use your voice, maybe that’s not the best place for you.
Remember that you don’t have to be everywhere, but where you are, be there. If you love Twitter, brand yourself on that platform. But if you hate blogging and can’t keep up with it, simply refrain.” Let your best self show, and use branding as a constant way to improve the already incredible and empowering person that you are.