3 Keys to Personal Branding


Today’s workforce is multigenerational and diverse, but despite generational and cultural differences, there is one fact that remains true for everyone.

Whether you are Gen-Z, a Millenial, Boomer, or Gen-X, you have to separate yourself from contenders in a competitive environment. 

This fact remains true even if you are working virtually rather than face to face. You have to put yourself out there, elevate your game, and stand out even when they can’t see you.

Standing out doesn’t mean being cutthroat or doing “anything it takes” to get ahead, but it does mean developing your personal brand both online and offline so you are memorable…in the right way!

Here are 3 keys to personal branding that will help you stand out from the competition and develop a positive reputation

3 Keys to Personal Branding 

Your personal brand, like the rest of your career, is determined by you. Even if you choose to ignore developing your personal brand, you are choosing a brand…and it may not be a good one.

Your personal brand is, in essence, your reputation. It’s partly who you are and partly how you present yourself in the world.

A good personal brand doesn’t happen by accident. And while some elements of your personal brand are (and should be) based on your preference, there are a few timeless attributes that should be a part of any personal brand.

3 Keys to Personal Branding

  1. Do Stellar Work
  2. Differentiate Yourself
  3. Have Upright Character…Always 

If you implement these goals into your life and personal brand, you will be more competitive and noticeable.

Do Stellar Work

Regardless of your age or stage in your career, one thing remains the same. 

You can not ignore the need to be unsurpassed at your job: brilliant, inspiring, authentic, skilled, undaunted, composed, honest, and a good example to emulate.

Well, you can, until you get hammered and end up having your next job title be “assistant to the summer intern” and get written off with three words, “considered not ready.”

Stellar work is your personal wealth: your worldly goods, trust fund, gold stash, life-preserver, money-in-your-pocket,  and 401(k). It is the investment in yourself that no one can take away, and no depressed economy or down market can diminish.

So what does “stellar work” mean? You: 

  • Make your numbers and deliver results on time, within budget.
  • Find a need and fill it as well as you can. 
  • Make your boss look good. You never surprise her, and you always keep her in the loop.
  • Have your work complement others’ work. You do what you can to help groups outside of your immediate job area.
  • Do things that seem impossible to do.
  • Utilize a broad and diverse set of skills—that is, you are multidisciplined.
  • Deal with complex tasks without needing your handheld.
  • Make it fun with the right amount of playfulness in getting along and making things happen.
  • Always observe people who are further ahead in their career and study what they are doing.
  • Think like an owner. You promote the organization’s mission, not just your own. 

In short, do the best job you can possibly do, even if you’re working remotely and no one can see you.

Differentiate Yourself

I know you’re a solid citizen. You’re a quick learner and truly smart. 

You get along with people. You want to help and connect with others, to serve society. You aim to contribute meaningful work. You have dreams and goals to achieve something groundbreaking. 

You’re motivated by money, title, and power to a certain extent, but you are more motivated by growth opportunities and success for your kids.

You plan to accelerate your career growth quickly—to play full out, use all your talent, and bring something to the world it hasn’t had before.

And—at least on paper— you are just like every other ambitious individual.

Let me ask you: Who couldn’t say those things about themselves? That list of career aspirations is remarkably alike and interchangeable for almost everyone. 

It’s acceptable but not exceptional.

If you want to be über-marketable and have a powerful impact, not only in your life and career but with everyone around you, you have to set yourself apart from every other overachiever with whom you compete. You can’t just putt-putt around. 

If you want to be über-marketable and have a powerful impact, not only in your life and career but with everyone around you, you have to set yourself apart from every other overachiever with whom you compete. You can’t just putt-putt… Share on X

You have to passionately want to differentiate yourself from others. You must be inflamed about this idea. Not just because I want it for you, but because you can’t imagine doing anything but going for it. 

The shocking, surprising, and sad fact is that few people do have fire in their belly from passion and curiosity. 

It’s up to you to start and kindle the fire in you. No one can do it for you. 

A spouse might push you, a boss who sees potential might press you, a life-changing situation (divorce, job termination, the birth of a child, etc.) might prompt a flicker. But like any fire, whatever ignition you start with will fizzle out if you don’t continuously feed the fire. 

So be relentless and consistent in differentiating yourself constantly. Your boss and coworkers will grow to trust that you are always going to go the extra mile, and your personal brand will shine more brightly. 

Have Upright Character…Always 

Beyond doing stellar work and differentiating yourself, you must also have a high, unwavering standard of ethics and conduct.

You have to be the same person uniformly online as well as offline — that’s personal branding.

Having upright character is entirely self-serving: You feel good about yourself, and you sleep soundly. 

You don’t fear how your actions will look in the newspaper or social media. Likewise, you need not agonize over how your kids, partner, parents, friends, classmates, neighbors, and co-workers will view you. 

Being a solid citizen is the ultimate de-stressor. Consider these three truths:

  • Fame, popularity, and riches go away; only character endures.
  • Ethos is established at the top, and you’re the top in your world.
  • People want to trust you, so make it easy for them.

As for me, I have plenty of faults, but I try to do the right thing.

If you are never known for anything else, be known for good character. That in itself will give you a personal brand worth having. 

Having upright character is entirely self-serving: You feel good about yourself, and you sleep soundly. 3 Keys to Personal Branding Share on X

You Are Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand is an extension of you. The choices you make every day in how you conduct yourself, treat others and approach your work define you and your personal brand.

Don’t auto-pilot your way through life. Instead, reflect on who you want to be, how you want others to see you, and then act accordingly. 

Could you use help developing a remarkable personal brand or your executive presence? I’ve been working with high-level C-Suite executives for over 30 years. Contact me to discuss coaching, or if you have a group of emerging leaders, for a speaking engagement.

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