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Just like “influencer,” which sounded ridiculous when we first started hearing about it, the concept of “personal branding” seemed kind of silly when it became a thing several years ago — but now they’re common. We haven’t focused on personal branding since 2015 (!), so for today’s open thread, let’s talk about it!

So that we’re all on the same page for a discussion, we’ll share a couple of definitions of personal branding. It definitely isn’t just for entrepreneurs, influencers, and (ugh) “thought leaders,” though their techniques don’t always overlap those of “traditional” employees.

Your reputation is made up of the opinions and beliefs people form about you based on your collective actions and behaviors. Your personal brand, on the other hand, is much more intentional. It is how you want people to see you. Whereas reputation is about credibility, your personal brand is about visibility and the values that you outwardly represent. — Harvard Business Review

A personal brand is a marketing strategy to promote yourself and your career. When creating your personal brand, you can consider your unique talents, skills and goals that distinguish you from your peers. Understanding how to create a personal brand can help you manage your professional image and market your skills and experiences to attract potential employers. — Indeed

{related: how to work with a recruiter: 7 great tips}

Interestingly, this topic hasn’t come up all that frequently in Corporette comments over the years, but a peek at Google Trends shows steady growth of web searches for “personal brand” since the time of our last post. Most of the comments around personal branding here have been negative (i.e., “Um, no, how silly”) but then most of the lengthiest conversations took place in 2016 and earlier.

Readers, now that we’re in 2024, we’re interested to hear about how much you think about your personal brand, how you develop it, and what your goals are for how others see you as a professional? What tools do you use? Are you in a career or have an employer that limits you in how you build your personal brand — for example, where blogging about your profession would be a no-no? Do you feel that your personal brand is more or less important if you’re not getting a lot of face time with your superiors?

{related: are there differences between LinkedIn and your resume?}

Fun fact: “Influencer” in its original sense was first used in 1662.

Further reading:

  • “How to Define, Develop, and Communicate Your Personal Brand” [Harvard Business Review, 2023]
  • “Personal Branding in the Digital Age: A Guide for Lawyers and Senior Business Professionals” [The Social Media Butterfly, 2023]
  • “The Importance of Personal Branding for Junior Lawyers: A Roadmap to Success” [The National Law Review, 2023]
  • “Your personal brand is crucial for your next promotion and raise. Here’s how to create one” [Yahoo!Finance, 2023]

Stock photo via Deposit Photos / nevenova.

Kate Antoniades

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