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Why Personal Branding is More Than Just a Buzz Phrase

Career expert Johnathan Maltby dissects what it actually means, and offers some tips on how to build yours.

We’ve all heard that career success requires a combination of education, experience and relevant industry skills. While these are all very important to finding a good job, there’s another key variable that may not have been mentioned by your school careers counsellor: the strength of your “personal brand”.

This is what allows outsiders to form an opinion about you – including your image, reputation, skills, and your perceived professional value.

While the phrase may be trending in recruitment circles today, personal branding has certainly always been relevant. How you write your CV and what you wear to an interview are traditional manifestations of this idea. As is priming your reference to say nice things about you. But the digital age has made us more personally transparent than ever, so your brand requires more maintenance.

If you want to see where your current personal brand sits, just Google yourself and take note of the results. Do these results portray you in the way you want to be perceived? Does the content really capture and communicate what you are, what you do and the value you bring?

If you’re not actively working on yours, utilising the increasing amount of digital platforms available, those who are will likely be finding more opportunities.

Here are three steps to building your personal brand:


Firstly, you need to have a sound understanding of your professional identity. This includes who you are, your main strengths and skills, and your specialisations. Identify what you can bring to an organisation and the problems you can solve for them.


Do this by defining your core message – the one that you will use throughout your branding material such as your elevator pitch, CV, LinkedIn and personal website. While the message needs to be tailored for each medium, the essence needs to stay the same.


Now that you know what you are and what you want to promote, the next thing is to develop a “visibility strategy”. Decide on which tools you want to use in order to promote yourself. The most obvious is social media but there are numerous other ways you can build a respected name for yourself. Creating and publishing content on a website or LinkedIn is a great way position yourself as a subject matter expert – as are speaking engagements or advice videos on YouTube.


Be patient

Building your brand and getting your name out there takes time. Keep this in mind as you lay the foundations.

Embrace your quirks

People with strong personal brands often incorporate both the positive and negative. Personality quirks can be used as a tool to help you stand out. Embrace them.

Be honest

Hiding elements of yourself will only set you up for disappointment later.

Check your privacy settings

LinkedIn should be visible (and updated) for any potential headhunters, however it’s worth considering exactly how much you want to share online. Capitalise on privacy settings where necessary.

Johnathan Maltby is a Personal Branding and Career Consultant with proven strategies designed to empower you to energise and ignite your career. If you’re wanting to define your Professional Identify and build your Personal Brand to supercharge your career, then contact Johnathan at and connect with him on LinkedIn. New connections welcome.

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