How to build a personal brand

Fucsia man's legs and denim with fucsia teddy bear

© The Shortlisted

Resumes, CVs and applications are only the first steps to getting noticed by a company.
Far more important, is what recruiters find when they search your name online.
If you haven’t cleaned up your online presence by this point in the game, you’re missing out on the best tool we have: the first impression before the first impression. Prior to the Internet era, meeting someone face-to-face gave people the first impression about us, even if you had previously talked on the phone beforehand for a job interview.

Today, with social media and Google’s algorithms, your face can pop up anywhere with a simple online search. Employers and clients are getting a first-rate look of what you look like, what you sound like (if you post videos,) and who you are before you even know that they exist.

In fact, about 80 per cent of recruiters are required to check your online presence before they speak even to you. Your online reputation matters, and here’s what you can do to build it up.

5 Tips to improve your personal branding online

1: Define yourself before others define you…

  • You’ve probably heard the word niche way too many times in the past few years, right? Well, I’m about to use it again. Find your niche, and build on that.
  • Create profiles on forums, social media channels and ezine websites where you can put in your two cents on information that’s relevant to your industry. People will take note of a well-written, informative comment in the subsection of the page that often has more constructive information than that of the article itself.
  • Make sure there’s a photo of you and backlinks to your blog or website, if allowed. People search for the solution to issues all the time. If they read the comments section, and you appear to be a guru in this particular niche, you’ve just gained yourself another follower who will remember your name.

2: …but don’t over-promote yourself

  • An information-packed comment or article will be completely nullified if it’s just an excuse to show others a sliver of info, and blast your name all-around at the end.
  • Leave the links and About me sections to your profiles or other appropriate places. People trust people, not automatons. Be personable, be yourself, and keep it professional enough that you’re displaying your knowledge, not boasting it.

3: Be available

  • People need to be able to actually get a hold of you. There’s nothing more aggravating than not getting a response via email for days and days at a time. If somebody wanted a response one week later, they would have sent you a postcard.
  • Whether you’re looking to find a new career opportunity, to sell your services or products or to make your personal brand bulletproof, people need to be able to get a hold of you.

4: Consult the experts

  • While you want to be established to the public, you can’t assume that you know everything. Join a group or message someone who impresses you, even with all of your backstage knowledge of marketing tactics and ways to spread your personal brand. If you can find someone who seems to know what they’re talking about, foster a business relationship between them.
  • After a while, you’ll realise you have business contacts and potentially, mentors. There’s never been a better way to reach for the stars and actually touch them than being an apprentice under the guidance of a knowledgeable master.

5: Take advantage of all media types

  • Every type of media is available for you to take full advantage of; letting multiple channels pass you by is a complete amateur mistake, and the leading experts on marketing agree. You need to utilise text, photo, and video to achieve a full brand feel.
  • In recent years, the most popular type of video that people will genuinely watch is explainer videos. They’re usually quirky little animations, and often give a boatload of information in a quick and fun way within 3 minutes or less (You don’t want more than that, or you’ll just be rambling).
  • Major brands are actually using Instagram as an excellent way of branding themselves. It’s quickly become one of the most-used forms of social media, right up there in the ranks alongside Facebook. Altered graphic designs with a bit of text information, while showcasing an example of your skills and services or an actual photo of what you can do, will go a long way.
  • Text-based media is the most basic form. Some don’t’ have the attention span to read on for 800 words (congratulations, by the way,) and who can blame them? We’re in an age where our media is streamed to every device in our home, and accessible with a few taps and a click or two.
  • Text-based media is perfect when you’re discussing something at length, or when your target audience actually wants to be informed and isn’t just mindlessly scrolling through feeds.
  • Once you brand your own online presence and once you define your personal brand, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy a fruitful boost in your career or business, provided that you’ve done your homework correctly.

★ Liked this article and want more career advice? Click here!


About The Author

Marketing specialist

Sabrina Clark is a proud Marist College alum with degrees specialising in PR, business administration and Spanish. While in college, she co-founded the Marist Student Entrepreneur Network to support students with entrepreneurial aspirations. She currently works at