6 Reasons Why You Need a Personal Brand

by David Blake |  08/29/2013


Companies have long known the value of branding—businesses spend $500 billion on advertising every year because they know that the way you view their brands affects whether or not you buy their products. But brands are no longer just for products and companies. Today, because so much of our lives is publicly viewable online, personal branding is essential, especially for current or future job seekers.

Here are six reasons you need to start thinking now about personal branding:

Your personal brand is a chance to define yourself before someone else does. If you participate in any social media networks, you already have an online reputation. Take charge of that reputation before it takes charge of you.

  1. The job market is competitive. Hiring managers receive on average 250 resumes for each job they post, and employers are taking their time to ensure they hire the best candidates. A strong, established personal brand can help you stand out from the crowd.
  2. Potential employers will Google you. According to a 2012 study, more than half of employers check out job applicants’ social media pages. They want to find out more about you—including the stuff that isn’t on your resume. They are looking for evidence that you are honest and creative and that you have good communication skills. They are also looking for any inappropriate content or behavior that could reflect poorly on their organization.
  3. Personal branding shows you have leadership qualities. Taking a proactive approach to managing your reputation shows that you are a leader and demonstrates to potential employers that you would be an asset to their company.
  4. Your personal brand can help you make important decisions. Once you have established a personal brand, you will need to make sure that your message is consistent. Thinking about how best to maintain your brand can help you make important career decisions now and down the road.
  5. You will change jobs often. In the past, most people worked for one company their entire lives. Today the average person is expected to change jobs between 10 and 15 times. Your personal brand will reflect your entire career trajectory and will help future employers gain an accurate overall picture of your abilities. 
  6. Your personal brand is a chance to define yourself before someone else does. If you participate in any social media networks, you already have an online reputation. Take charge of that reputation before it takes charge of you.

So how do you start building your personal brand? In an article for The Guardian, Jaleh Bisharat proposes following a three-step process to build your personal branding:

  • Define it. Decide what you want your brand to be. What do you do best? What makes you unique? Dharmesh Shah recommends choosing one word that articulates how you want to be perceived and remembered and then using that word as the foundation for everything else.

  • Earn it. You earn your brand by, as Bisharat says, becoming “really, really good at what differentiates you.” This can range from learning new skills to tackling new challenges.

  • Promote it. Build your online presence around your brand and make sure that your strengths are highly visible. For example, showcase your knowledge and skills by signing up for Degreed, a free service that tracks all of your lifelong learning activities, and use LinkedIn to enhance your profile and expand your professional network. You can even consider having your own website that links to your various social, professional, and learning activities.

When it comes to applying for a job, personal branding is at least as important as your resume. Whether you are still in school, looking for your first job, or planning to change careers at some point in the future, your personal brand will have a big impact on whether or not you get an interview. Don’t leave your online reputation to chance—take steps to start building and managing your personal brand today.


David Blake is the Co-founder of Degreed, author at MOOCs, and a Stanford d.School EdTech Entrepreneur. Fast Company wrote, "Why can’t we take robotics at Carnegie Mellon, linear algebra at MIT, law at Stanford?  And why can’t we put 130 of these together and make it a degree?" Now you can with Degreed take courses from any university and learn from the best resources from across the web with Degreed.


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