In this day, everything about you is branded.
Your life is branded, your job - you yourself, are a brand. Believe it or not, your individuality yields you a personal brand whether you choose to accept it and cultivate it, or not.
Personal branding is the act of building and supporting an online reputation in the way you desire to be perceived. Essentially, creating a personal brand is constructing this online reputation, and getting it to speak for you. This practice was traditionally used only on important personnel like celebrities and politicians, but with the mass citizenship in the digital community, everyone has one.
The answer is for purely professional reasons.
The line between crafting your own brand, and using appearances to manipulate others is thin, and can be a dangerous fence to walk. Yes, there's a lot of advice online advocating that you need to be on brand everyday, all the time ; but the way we see it, you're just showcasing the best parts of yourself, so it shouldn't be exhausting. Some people make the mistake of taking on a completely new personality for a personal brand, and fall at risk for keeping up the façade. The key to personal branding is getting to know more about yourself, while finding out the best qualities that can advocate for you professionally. Think about how you would want employers to see you? Your colleagues and clients? Connections on LinkedIn or circles on Google plus? You're personal brand helps you to craft an image of your best professional self - not your whole identity.
Believe it or not, personal branding is a lot like corporate branding.
Think about what you would look for if you were looking to hire a branding company. You'd probably go to their site first, and do the following:
If you like what you've seen, you'll probably look them up on other social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to get a better feel of what the company values.
Guaranteed, the process when professionals look at your online brand, is somewhat the same. The key is to present them with exactly what they'll be looking for. Whether you choose to build your brand on a personal website or by social media, your platform(s) should include :
If you wish to keep some of your accounts private that's also fine, as long as the photo and bio can support what's being said on your other professional platforms.
Personal branding is not only good for getting hired, but for networking and maintaining a consistent, professional reputation. Don't know where to start? There are entire blogs completely dedicated to how you should begin building your personal brand. While it may sound like hard work to set up initially, maintaining the brand becomes easier as you grow as a professional and will become worth it as you take on new jobs and projects.