define your personal brand

Personal branding

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Understanding your Personal Brand and how to use it is essential in the current job market.

So what is it? It is you as a product, marketed and sold to employers. It is everything you have to offer, from the basic stuff like skills and experience, to the more personal things like attitude, tone of voice, and personality. Your Personal Brand should help you stand out from other graduates, and it will also help to define where you would like your career to head, and keep you on track in that direction.

A graduate with a strong Personal Brand will display consistency across every stage of their job applications, and in their online and offline presence.

How to create an effective Personal Brand

1. Audit what you've got to offer
This includes academic attainment (Degrees, A Levels, awards, etc.), extracurricular activities (societies and hobbies), work experience and internships, and career ambitions.

2. Figure out what you're after
Know how to answer the question "where do you see yourself in five years?" Better yet, know where you see yourself in ten years. You don't have to know the exact details, but knowing where you want to end up will help you make the decisions along the way that will help you get there.

3. Know your limits
Simply put, know what you're willing to do and what you're not. Figuring it out ahead of time can save you many awkward conversations. This applies to hours, workload, relocation, and specific tasks such as telesales.

4. Make it personal
Everyone is different and will have taken slightly different paths to get to where they are now. What graduates need to be clear about is what is different about them. Making it personal means understanding what makes you different from the application that came in before you and the application that will follow yours, whether it's taking risks or taking advantage of something unique to you.

5. Tell your story
After you've gathered all the information about yourself and discovered what makes you individual, it is time to put this into action. Get to know your story. Your journey through school and working life are all part of your personal narrative. The goal here is to think about how you can tell that narrative so it shows your commitment to getting to where you want to end up.

Once you have that figured out, practice telling people your story in a few minutes or less - this is your personal pitch which you will likely deliver time and again to prospective employers, both in person and in your applications.

6. Manage your online presence
We've all heard the warnings: employers will check your online presence. Keep it private, or make sure it matches your personal brand.

It is a good idea to think about how you can use online platforms to further your Personal Brand. Whether it is a Pinterest or Polyvore account following developments in Fashion with an eye on a career in Buying and Merchandising, or a blog giving your opinion and thoughts on the economy with the intention of pursuing a career in Banking, these platforms can provide solid evidence to employers that you are committed to your chosen field, and can help to enhance your Commercial Awareness.