If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start thinking about personal branding. It is one of the most significant tools that you will use in your career.
The way you see yourself—and the way others perceive you—is key to accessing the opportunities you need to create the change you really want. You want to be remembered, you want to distinguish yourself from others—and you want employers or customers to easily see what makes you different, valuable, and above all else, great.
Make sure your brand is polished with these three tips, which will make you stand out on your resume, online presence, and communications. These steps are especially important when showcasing your brand in places like our new Levo Profile feature.
1. Make sure your elevator pitch is effective.
Your elevator pitch is an opportunity to show what makes you unique and why somebody should care.
An elevator pitch is a short, compelling message that aims to pique someone’s interest and entice them to want to learn more about you. A good place to start is by writing your pitch in the format suggested in our Levo Profile: authentic, straightforward, cool, and super succinct (around 160 characters).
Instead of thinking about your pitch as a list of prior job roles, think about the impact you want to make. Describe how your professional accomplishments and talents have moved you towards that goal. For example:
- For the past 5 years, I have been developing community gardens to show people in cities how they can grow healthy food options cheaply.
- I help theater companies create successful writing programs for young playwrights, and I’m known for my talent in mentorship and love of new ideas.
- On this princess planet, my purpose is to aid girls in seeing themselves as heroes. For the past 3 years, I have been drawings cartoons that really show what a “superwoman” looks like.
Improve your elevator pitch so that it’s engaging and memorable for potential employers by following these tips.
2. Have a consistent visual appearance across all platforms.
Much like you would never show up to an interview in a stained t-shirt and ripped jeans, it’s important to consider the initial impression your personal brand gives off. After all, your potential employer is going to see this before they even meet you! With that said, what should be kept in mind while shaping your image? The color palette used, as well as any photos or videos selected to represent who you are.
The initial thing that your brand’s color communicates to your audience is the tone and energy level. For example, a personal brand represented by navy blue, white, and light gray might come across as being sophisticated, serious, and elegant; whereas electric yellow next to tangerine and pink implies someone who is daring and fun with a little sense of humor.
Choose your colors wisely by sticking to two key colors, one accent color, and no more five than 5 colors overall. Consider who you want your audience to be while making this decision; being too radical might not get the results that you desire. For example, someone working in law or finance would probably fare better with more understated tones instead of neon orange.
If you’re unsure of where to start, consider the colors around your house. You might already have your signature colors in front of you. What hues become apparent when you look around? What colors do you wear often? If nothing comes to mind, search “color palette” or “color scheme” on Pinterest for some inspiration. Alternatively, take a look at blogs and magazines focused on decor and fashion. Instagram is also a great resource for color schemes. And if all else fails, consult Pantone – the granddaddy of color palettes!
If you’re still stuck, try some of these combinations for inspiration.
- Classic & Preppy: Navy and slate gray with coral accents
- Modern & Sophisticated: Smokey gray and rose with coffee accents
- Cheerful & Fresh: Gold and teal with berry accents
- Soft & Feminine: Mint green and antique gold with pale pink accents
PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
Colors aren’t the only way to send a message- images do as well. The hues and shading of pictures and videos are crucial in maintaining your brand’s voice; black and white photos provide a different feeling than, for example, bright or jewel-toned ones. Usually, images speak louder than words too- they can help depict your story better. It’s one thing to say that you want to inspire seniors to stay active: it means more show yourself actually living out that purpose and proving its effects.
When crafting your personal brand, images are key. Use photos and videos of yourself as a foundation, and then try out these other ideas for more inspiration.
If you can afford to hire a professional photographer, do so.
Select photos that make you look like your authentic self – whatever that may be. Be buttoned-up, friendly, smiling, and approachable if that’s what makes you feel comfortable. Express yourself in a way that feels natural to you, and please avoid staging poses as if this were for a high school yearbook photo.
Avoid images that are either too far away or too close. A good headshot is zoomed in on your face, with the frame stopping just above the head and halfway down the neck.
Keep your brand colors in mind when deciding what to wear. You don’t need to match perfectly, but choose tones that look good on you and fit with your company’s color scheme. This doesn’t only apply to clothes–think about jewelry, lipstick, and other accessories too.
It is best to not include pets, kids, or significant others in your headshot. Also, use common sense when taking the photo: don’t go overboard with makeup and avoid showing alcohol (unless it’s relevant to your profession).
Above all, pick a video that doesn’t have any sound or visual elements which would clash with your brand. For example, poor quality music or a background that’s too busy might take away from your message.
3. Be consistent.
You need to be continually reinforcing your personal brand everywhere it appears if you want it to be powerful. Here are some great ideas for how you can do that.
- Celebrate that color scheme. Don’t give your logo relatively unknown digital real estate on just a website or profile. Put it everywhere, from business cards and emails to invoices and even your Instagram feed (bonus points if you use it as your phone background, in your wardrobe, or for home décor).
- Use the same headshot in professional arenas. If you want to make a good impression on potential employers or clients, put your best picture in places they might look for you: profiles, article bylines, and conferences or networking events.
- Keep your communications in the same voice. Tone matters, so make sure to keep the same one from your elevator pitch in all future communications. To better communicate who you are and what you stand for, choose four or five adjectives that describe your purpose and values. You should use these words often, such as in profiles and resumes, emails, posts, and quotes you highlight. They can even appear in hashtags on occasion.
Always ask, “Is this on brand?” The next time you have to make a decision about your profile image, the tone of an email, the font for website, or even your next job move, think about if it’s true to your brand. This will help simplify the decision-making process every single time. It might be difficult at first, but eventually it becomes second nature and reinforces what makes you great: being authentic to yourself.