5 Simple Steps to Build Your Personal Brand

Dave Cutler found himself in an unenviable position last year – one that too many of us are familiar with. He was laid off.  And like just about anyone searching for a job in today’s economy, Dave realized simply blindly shipping off his resume to every job posting wasn’t enough. He needed to stand out. He needed a reinvention.

What is a Personal Brand?

Dave needed a brand, a personal brand.

Many people know what personal branding means, but for the uninitiated it’s the practice of establishing yourself as an expert in your field by transparently sharing your knowledge and skills. It’s always existed in some form, but the rise of social media has made building your own brand more accessible.

Dave’s personal branding efforts were all about expressing his value to potential employers. But his campaign led not only to an eventual job (he’s community manager at TIBCO Spotfire), but also earned him shout outs across the social Web, features in newspapers and interviews on radio and TV.

Personal Brand Job Seeker Tips

How did Dave pull it off as a job seeker to build his personal brand? He followed five steps, tips.

  • Take Small Steps.  Dave didn’t bite off more than he could chew. He started his campaign by identifying who were the most influential voices in the field of social media. He subscribed to their blogs, followed them on Twitter, and shared their content across social media channels. In the process, he gained the attention of influencers in his space.
  • Create Your Own Content.  While Dave started out commenting on others’ blogs and sharing their content, he eventually transitioned into creating his own articles and advice. After digesting the wisdom of experts, Dave started to crank out his own content in the form of blogs, tweets and videos. As a result, he gained an audience, with the added help of the influencers he had courted along the way.
  • Create a One-Stop Shop.  When you start creating and sharing content across multiple sites and social media outlets, it’s easy to lose track. Using the About.me platform, Dave aggregated all his thoughts and content in one place. This way, his thought leadership was easy to find. And so was Dave.
  • Be Consistent.  If you’re going to create your own brand, you need to consistently produce. That means if you have a blog, you need to regularly update it. If you’re on Twitter, don’t disappear for weeks at a time. If you start a LinkedIn group, you have to stay on top of it. Consistency is the key to branding.
  • It’s About Development, Too.  We often hear that professional development is one of the best things you can do between jobs. Dave took this to heart, attending every event he could and getting a mini-MBA in social media marketing. It was not only a great learning experience, but also a chance to hobnob offline with some of the most influential people in his field.

Jesse Noyes is Managing Editor at Eloqua.  He’s a journalist and taco connoisseur.  Check them out on Twitter at @jessenoyes. Check out the Grade Guide to Personal Branding which he references in this post.  Download a free copy  


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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