Trademark Your Life: Build Your Personal Brand

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Many job sites now list how many have applied for any given job, and the numbers are staggering. How do you stand out among the hundreds all vying for the same position?

Create, know, and spread your personal brand.

It might sound hokey at first, but this is reputation management we’re talking about. Corporations pay big money to build, test, and increase the reach of it. Celebrities hire people to protect, rescue, or reinvent it. So, why not you?

Create a mission statement

Starbucks’ mission statement is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time.” It includes what they offer (“cup” of coffee/tea/etc.), who they offer it to (“one person” or customer), where they offer it (“neighbourhood” or community) and why (“to inspire and nurture the human spirit”). Personal branding starts with knowing who you really are.

Strip away the details that clutter your life and ask yourself some important questions: What are your strengths? What do you enjoy doing? What settings are you most comfortable in? How would a friend that has known you for 10 years describe your personality? Use these answers to craft a mission statement that incorporates the above what, who, where, and why. This is all about being as authentic as possible. If you try to be fake in order to trick someone into hiring you — or even to create an idea of who you want to be — it will fall apart quickly.

Make it your own

The founder of ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, David Ogilvy, once said, “If you can’t be brilliant, at least be memorable.” Not everyone can be a genius. But you can take a look at your mission statement — who you are and what you do — and figure out how you do it in a unique way. This has everything to do with finding that one thing that makes you stand out. It can be quirky, it can be fun, but above all, it has to get you noticed.

Put yourself online

There is little point to having any of the above if it isn’t visible, especially because it’s so easy to do so. Get great headshots, either professionally or have a friend snap a photo with a white or solid background. Make sure you’re smiling and looking friendly. Create a blog and use this photo for the About Me or Mission Statement page. This is a great way to showcase your portfolio, demonstrate your writing ability about your chosen field, and provide more contact information.

Get people talking

Once your blog is set up, start creating the buzz. If you haven’t already, join social media networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. Follow others in your field and try to engage in conversation by commenting on their posts. Seek out companies you’d like to work for and feeds of related job postings. Put the link on your resume when you’re applying, so potential employers can explore you beyond the paper.

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