After polling several well-educated young professionals about their personal brand statement, we realized that there are still many individuals who don’t understand how to use personal branding.
Your statement is not a mission statement or job title, but rather your “catchphrase” if you will about your specific expertise.
If you don’t have much experience at something, then it can be about an area that you want to become an expert in so long as you don’t exaggerate. Also, make sure to limit yourself to only one sentence for your personal branding statement.
Since there are still many people who are unaware of the need to create a personal brand regardless of the industry, then having a great one may just be the edge needed to win out over the competition.
Seven tips when writing a personal brand statement:
- List your attributes. This may seem a little bit too simple, but when you are trying to find some quality or skill that only you and a few other people have it really helps a lot. The goal here is to find the one or two things that separate you from your competition and make you unique.
- Choose an audience. Creating a statement that is too broad and undirected at any particular group will most likely alienate many of your potential employers. Since the purpose of a personal brand statement is to briefly list your primary skills, it is necessary to target the industry where those skills are most useful.
- Be honest. It is tempting to exaggerate about your abilities, but this is not the place to do that. Don’t say you’re “the best” or a “leader in the field of…” unless you actually are. Keep in mind that the brand statement is only supposed to get people interested, and not say everything about your professional career. Hopefully, with a good sentence an employer will want to know about you.
- Make it memorable. Even though you want it to stand out, remember that using excessively large or technical words may alienate your audience. The statement of your brand should be something that others can remember easily since you need to be able to use it whenever a networking opportunity arises (baseball game, elevator, social function, etc). Try telling it to a friend or significant other one time and see if he or she can easily recall the entire sentence. If so, you’re off to a good start.
- Make your self–impression = other’s impression. If you have trouble brainstorming personal skills, ask close friends or co-workers what they think your strengths are. Even after you’ve decided on a statement, it is a good idea to check with a friend to make sure that your idea of yourself matches what others think of you.
- Market yourself. I cannot emphasize this fact enough, when looking for a job you have to be willing to be your own advocate. A personal brand statement will not help you much if you are not telling people what it is. Have a personal website, or at the very least use social networking sites like facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc to reach potential employers and use your professional statement. Make sure to keep it consistent across platforms, however, because using the same sentence every time will help others remember it and associate it with you. Having a short brand statement means that you will be able to market yourself quickly whenever a chance for networking arises (on the subway, for instance).
- Be flexible. Even though it’s time consuming, your personal branding statement should be revised at least once a year to reflect changes and advancements in your professional career. In order to be effective, it needs to stay current.
Don’t procrastinate creating your statement. Since it is such a powerful marketing tool, you are going to want to spend enough time on it to make it fantastic and ensure that it projects exactly the image of you that you want.
Eventually, personal branding statements will be as common as a resume or reference list, but for now, it’s a sure way to get you noticed as a competitive applicant who is capable of keeping up with current self-marketing trends and using them to advantage.
Everybody tells you that you have to have an effective 30-second “elevator pitch.”
They’re wrong – you have way less than 30 seconds to make your first impression on a hiring manager, prospective client, or somebody you meet at a networking event. As a matter of fact, you really have just a few seconds to introduce yourself and present your personal branding statement.
THEN, if the other person is interested, you can go into your 30-second spiel, but only if they invite you to! If they’re not interested, don’t bother.
This is why a concise personal brand statement is so important. When you meet somebody for the first time, you don’t want to drone on and on without them showing interest. You should be respectful of their time and yours.
You’ll know right away if the other person swallowed the bait by watching their body language and by judging their response. If they show interest, you can and should elaborate – but once again, you have to do it without boring the person you’re speaking to.
You can practice this easily. Dial in your brief personal brand statement that you want to present so you can recite it on autopilot. Having this figured out will earn you more time to discuss the nitty-gritty in a lengthier discussion.
One thing to remember, your personal brand statement is not your job title! It’s the essence of who you are, distilled to just a few words. A great example would be: “I help your brand gain visibility online.”
That’s simple, succinct, and it’s enough of a teaser to get a response like: “Wow, tell me how you do that.” That’s your invitation to elaborate with your 30 second elevator pitch.
Brevity begets precision. Stephen Hawking really has to work to communicate, yet he’s one of the most influential scientists in history. He has become a master at crafting his communications with the absolute minimum number of words simply because it takes him so long to create a simple sentence.
While you won’t have that challenge, you should be inspired by his precision. You can blabber on for hours once the other person has shown sufficient interest, but until then think about precision when you craft your personal brand statement.
Your personal brand statement should be short enough to fit on one line on your business card. And you should use it there, in your email signature, in your blog postings or comments, as your LinkedIn Professional Headline, and anywhere else where it’s appropriate to promote yourself.
Align your personal brand statement with your values:
As you know by now, your personal mission statement is not something you create once and then forget about. Rather, it’s something you should consult, review, and revise on a continuous basis.
We recommend taking a glance at your personal brand statement every 3-6 months to see if anything needs to be changed. Your values and goals change over time, so it makes sense that your personal brand statement would as well.
As an individual you have values and virtues, just as organizations do. People expect this, and you shouldn’t shy away from having these influence your brand statement.
Too often we see people try to present their personal brand statement in a way that’s robotic or overly professional. We expect that with correspondence with a bank, not a person.
Take your values and goals and wear them on your sleeve (or your personal brand statement). This will help set you apart from all the other people who offer similar services or operate in the same industry. It will make you memorable, and help your end goal tremendously.
Personal brand statement examples:
In case you want some personal brand statement examples to help guide you, there are a handful below.
These examples can be used as templates for inspiration when making your own personal brand statement.
“I help people create new opportunities in their businesses and careers.”
“I am a personal trainer, specializing in weight training and mobility.”
“I give authors visibility on untapped promotional platforms where they can share their work.”
“I spark new product ideas for large companies that have stagnant product cycles.”
As you can see, these personal brand statement examples are all about the value that they can provide others. They don’t drone on and on, instead they get right to the point and let the details get sorted out later.
As with anything, these should be looked at through the lens of your own experience. Don’t try and shoehorn your statement into a format that doesn’t work for you.
Instead, use these personal branding statement examples as an idea-generator if you need help formatting your statement or organizing everything.
Merging your personal brand statement and LinkedIn:
Time and time again we see people spend hours crafting and refining their personal brand statement, only for them to just put it on their website. Although this is a great place to put it, too often we see people ignore LinkedIn as an outlet.
LinkedIn is one of the places that makes the most sense to put your personal branding statement, more so than any other network. We recommend including it in a prominent position to lead off your profile information.
People skim online, even when looking at LinkedIn profiles. Taking your personal brand statement and making it easily found will help share what you’re all about, even if someone doesn’t have a lot of time to look at your profile.
This gives you a significant advantage over other profiles that have their value spread thin throughout their entire profile. You have to read and read just to get an idea of their experience and brand statement.
If you want to win on LinkedIn, take that personal branding statement and show it off. You spent time on it, don’t you want others to see it?
Lead in to your call to action without desperation:
With more and more people developing their personal brand statements, some common trends are starting to emerge. One of the most common ones we’ve seen is an overly aggressive or desperate call to action when speaking to potential clients or employers.
Coming on too strong, too fast is something that many people do. They think marketing their personal brand is all about “putting themselves out there”, when the best do it with more tact.
You want to be approachable and interested, but realize that most actions are not taken on the initial day of contact. When you present your personal brand statement to someone else they will likely circle back around to you later if they want to work together.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make yourself available, just don’t go crazy with it. What’s going to help you the most here is a solid personal brand statement and a good conversation or impression afterwords. When things are wrapping up, give them your contact information and part ways. Coming on too strong can cancel out progress that was made earlier.
Keep educating yourself about your personal brand statement:
As we just covered, a personal brand statement is a concise way of letting other people know what you do and why you’re different, and is usually no more than two sentences.
It’s a key weapon in your personal branding arsenal because it provides a quick, top-level understanding of what you stand for without making others read a whole bio.
However, a personal brand statement is just fluff unless you align your actions with it.
To help you understand this concept, keep educating yourself on how it ties in with your professional goals. It’s always good to keep learning!