Personal Branding 101: Self-Reflection & Making Your Mark In The Professional World

Personal branding: a buzzword we hear all too often but aren’t given a handbook on how to apply to ourselves. Yet in today’s increasingly competitive job market, establishing a strong personal brand and network are two prerequisites to a meaningful career. So what’s a girl to do?

First step: continue reading.

Since my first professional event back in my second year of university, my ears have been ringing with industry buzzwords.

What steps did I need to take to create my own unique personal brand? As the eager student I was, I wanted to understand so that I could apply these tactics to my own professional career.

Fast forward a few years, I can confidently say I’ve spent hours researching, reading blogs, attending industry events and have even taken a few Udemy courses on personal branding. Let me be clear, I’m no expert BUT I am passionate about inspiring women, just like you, to put forth their best self so that they can attract amazing experiences and make their “mark” in the professional world.  

Now let’s do this.

When it comes to developing your personal brand, it’s all about who you are and what you have to offer. It gives you control over your career development and how you are perceived in your industry. *No pressure!*

The very first thing you have to do, before you purchase that web domain or develop a content plan for your social channels, is self-reflect. This is honestly the hardest part of the whole process, as we often don’t think about ourselves in this way. My suggestion is to take an evening or two, set yourself up in a comfortable space (like a cozy couch with fuzzy slippers), grab a journal and ask yourself some questions to dig deep and understand what your skills and values are. I recommend hand writing these thoughts out in order to mitigate distractions (which I desperately need because I can’t go 5 minutes without scrolling through the ‘gram).

Here are some thought starters to get those creative juices flowing:

  1. What is it that you bring to your career that is specific to you? 
  2. What are your hard and soft skills? 
    1. Just so we’re on the same page, a hard skill is a specific, teachable ability such as typing writing, reading or math whereas a soft skill is less tangible such as getting along with others and engaging in small talk.
  3. What are your top 5 values that define who you are? 
  4. Where do you want to be in three years? 
  5. What do you want to be remembered for? 

OKAY I KNOW. This is tough! Contemplating about who you are is equivalent to mental gymnastics, but you got this, girlfriend. The more you know about who you are, what you stand for and where you want to be in the future, the stronger your personal brand will shine when it comes to execution. I’m going through these exact same processes right now as I work to nail down my personal brand, so you’re not alone.

Once you complete this exercise, you’ll have a strong foundation that will allow you to build upon your brand and the rest will come naturally. Remember to try and make this an enjoyable experience (and not a stressful one!). It can be a lot of fun learning about yourself and it will be even more rewarding when it comes time to build your personal website and curate your social channels because they will represent your authentic self. It’s truly the best feeling watching something you worked hard on come to light.

Until then, good luck in your first phase and stay tuned for part 2 of this series where I’ll be talking about creating your own content to support your personal brand. 

Are you currently building yours? Or a seasoned, established personality? I want to hear about your journey (and you!) in the comments below.

xx,

Kate

about kate taylor

Hi! I’m Kate, a full-time Digital Strategist and part-time wanderluster. You’ll typically find me glued to my keyboard, attending the latest networking event in Toronto or dreaming about my next adventure. Find me on Instagram (@ktetylr) and Twitter (@ktetylr_).

Header photo by Samantha Clarke