Career & Personal Branding 101: Who Are You?

Chelsea Lawler

It is the ideal career branding question: “Who are you?” You may want to reply with general information such as your name, age, and place of employment. With practice, you will find that you do not want to answer the question in this way, but add your own creative spin on a typically bland response. Your response gives you an opportunity to showcase your unique personality, as it is typically the first question asked within a potential career or networking setting. What sets you apart from other individuals? How does your career relate to you as a brand? We will explore the different avenues in which you can properly and concisely answer the question.

Career branding relates to you as a professional and the network around you, such as colleagues and other professionals. When you are working with other colleagues or in a team setting, it may be easy to fall into a mode of group thinking. Being a part of group thinking may trigger you to devise similar statements as your colleagues. For example, you may start you introduction as, “Hello, my name is Jane Doe, and I have been the CEO of Crunchy Foods for 20 years.” Just because this may be the standard format for your colleagues or other professionals does not mean you have to follow the same format.

Your personal brand statement needs to inform a potential employer or network connection what you will contribute to their company.

Tweak your response to the situation. For example, you could be at a professional networking event or a job interview. Regardless of what the situation or event may be, it is incredibly important to prepare when delivering your answer to this question.

A tip that many career services provide is to think of the answer as an elevator pitch. This means to think of your response as if you are delivering it during a short elevator ride. You have a limited amount of time to convey your point concisely before you reach the end of your ride. Keep in mind that your response should be concise and allow the potential employer or network connection, the opportunity to ask you more questions about your qualifications.

Ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve in your statement?

  • How does your personal statement relate to the career or network you want to be a part of?
  • What can you contribute to a potential company?
  • Think about your reputation within your past experiences or career settings; how do they define you as an individual?

If you are having trouble coming up with answers, it is best to seek advice and feedback from family, friends, or colleagues you are close with. Ask your family, friends, or colleagues what they feel are your most important accomplishments or strengths. Can they describe you in three to five words?

Honest feedback is crucial when you are creating a list of how you can identify yourself as a brand. Think about what differentiates you from your other colleagues. When you are crafting a list of options for your elevator speech, do not forget your skill set or values. How did you use your skill set or values to successfully achieve your accomplishments? Adding the value to your personal or career brand is essential! If you clearly and concisely communicate your unique qualities and accomplishments, you will not only impress your network, but perhaps a potential, future employer!

About The Author

Chelsea Lawler

Chelsea Lawler is a recent graduate of Philadelphia University with her Master of Science degree in Fashion Apparel Studies. She graduated from Mount Aloysius College in 2010 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Chelsea enjoys running her small jewelry business for vintage clothing, and traveling. With her writing at Career Igniter, she hopes to educate both students and job seekers on the various facets of the job hunting process.

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