May 2018 - By Kahisha Joseph

As children, I’m sure we all can remember a time when our mother or grandmother forced us to put on an outfit that we didn’t want to wear or did our hair in a way that we didn’t feel suited us. We would stare in the mirror for hours and ask ourselves, “why do I have to wear this? This isn’t me!” As we got older, we were able to have the freedom to make these style choices and express ourselves the way we wanted to, and at the time, it was the best feeling ever.

How we express ourselves through our personal style, is the same process we must take when expressing our personal brand. Personal branding is the process of developing a mark that is created around your name and the key attributes that define you. Just like branding a product or service, we need to create a name for ourselves and associate it with a unique idea that differentiates us from our competition. This uniqueness is what will draw people to our product, services, and overall message. Your personal brand should ultimately center around who you are as an individual and what you have to offer.

Living in today’s world, you should know that owning a personal brand means everything. Years ago, we could just hand over our resume or business card with our name and number on it and call it a day. In today’s society, personal branding has become more similar to branding a product or service. Just like how marketers give products a personality that stays consistent throughout multiple mediums, we need to make sure we keep our same energy and distinct personality throughout our mediums. With the popularity of social networks, we now have to become more strategic with how we portray our identity to employers.

Well how do you do this you might ask? The first step is defining your personal brand. A few questions you should ask yourself are, what goal am I ultimately trying to reach? Who is my audience? How do I want them to perceive me? Answers to these questions are the key points in giving you direction on how to get started. Speaking from my own personal journey, I had to learn how to build myself up gradually. Don’t be discouraged if you might not have it all figured out right away, because building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, experiences, and a few mistakes along the way.

Once you’ve defined the key attributes that make up your brand, the next step is tailoring your resume. For a while, I carried the same resume with the same layout. The only updates I would make were my new career experiences. It wasn’t until my internship with 78Madison, that I ended up revamping my entire resume to not only highlight my skills and credentials but to also make it reflect my personality. The most important advice that Joe Bouch, CEO of 78Madison could have given me for this task was to make sure that this document told my story. Many people overlook this quality but it’s an important thing to remember. Always keep in mind, that an employer will be looking through tons of resumes at a time. Another question you should ask yourself is, what is my secret ingredient that will make me stand out from these stacks of resumes? Some ways you can accomplish this, is by customizing your resume to fit the job position; use a modern, organized, and professional format; and most importantly, TELL YOUR STORY.

To extend your brand a bit further in this digital era, it’s important that you have active accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Not only should you be active but it’s essential to have a strong and clean image on these accounts. Often, employers will look you up on social media just to get to know who you are on a deeper level, so you’ll want to make sure that your presence online reflects your resume and how you are in person. What you post is crucial and keeping a good balance between professional and personal updates is key. Remember that your social pages are only an extension of you and you are in control of what you choose to let people see so be strategic about this.

After creating your mediums and aligning them with your brand, you then need to make sure that your aura and attitude stays consistent in person. That means, when you go on your job interview and when you head to networking events, your overall look and energy should match who you were on paper and online. Wear something that is professional, keep a positive attitude, look the person in the eye when speaking, and remain polite. This alone will earn you respect and makes people want to have you in their space more often.

Once you’ve established who you are, who you would like to become, and what you want out of this precious life, sky is the limit from there. Just like products, we as people grow and evolve. Our personal brand speaks for itself so that we don’t have to. It’s that one thing that you should take pride in and that no one can take from you. As time passes, the need for a personal brand is becoming more of a requirement. It’s something that you should also be extremely protective of, being that it follows you throughout your career. Everyone can attend school and get a degree but it’s that distinct personality that will win employers over.

Kahisha Joseph
78Madison Spring 2018 Intern
Spring 2018 University of Central Florida Graduate

78Madison is a full service marketing communications firm - advertising agency - located in heart of Central Florida (Orlando - Altamonte Springs