Personal Branding Basics

By Ciara Corcoran ‘17

Personal branding is a useful tool to anyone in the job market, but it especially useful to us PWR majors who are trying to build our portfolios and prepare for the post-college job hunt. I wasn’t introduced to the concept of personal branding until I came to Elon so for those of you who were/are just as confused as I was, here is a brief definition: personal branding is the practice of marketing oneself as a brand by putting forth a prescribed idea about oneself and one’s work. In layman’s terms, you’re telling people what to think of you before they get a chance to think for themselves. Personal branding is a valuable method to create recognition, utilize networking, and promote yourself and your work.

Why brand? Branding is great for a number of reasons, but it can be used mainly to boost your credibility, ensure continual employment, and receive recognition for your work. Anyone can have a personal brand, but yours can stand out from the crowd by capturing your skills and personality.


Infographic by Feldman Creative and Placester (


Here are nine steps to begin your personal branding process. Keep in mind that it is a process and how you brand yourself now as a college student probably won’t be the same way you brand yourself in 10 years as a professional in the workforce.

  1. Who are you?

Identify your strengths, talents, and passions. Think about your education and levels of experience in the field you want to pursue. Pick three ideas you want to convey to potential employers/clients and center your brand on those ideas.

  1. How are you perceived?

Ask friends, peers, employers, etc how they perceive you. Is this the image you want to portray? Oftentimes how we see ourselves is not how others see us, so make sure that you are sending the image of yourself that you want to send.

  1. What do you want to achieve?

Do you want a job after graduation or are you just looking for a summer internship? Think long-term and short term. Consider the field you are entering and how to best market yourself to employers in that field.

  1. Create your brand

You can achieve this through your resume, cover letter, portfolio, online presence (blog, social media), business cards, and anything else you use to promote yourself. In terms of presentation, you can use fonts, colors, images, logos, or any combination of these. Don’t let these elements overpower your work. Find a balance so that people can see your individuality, but they aren’t overwhelmed by your choice of a rainbow Comic Sans font.

  1. Create your ecosystem

Share your work with your close connections in your community. This is a starting point to getting your work out there and building a foundation for your brand.

  1. Create your network

After establishing your ecosystem, you can expand your work and reach out to potential clients and employers. Linkedin is a great resource for this. Just make sure your profile is up-to-date!

  1. Create original content

Always update your blog, resume, portfolio, and social media so employers can see the most current version of you and your work. Keep your work appropriate for your platform!

  1. Get involved and share

Engage your audience! Comment, like, share, follow, and tweet your heart out to keep your audience interested in what you are doing and expand your network.

  1. Listen and monitor

Accept the criticism you get and address it accordingly. Maybe one of your platforms isn’t receiving as much traffic as your would like. Identify your weak spots to strengthen your overall image and build the best personal brand that you can.


Creating a personal brand may seem like a daunting task, but taking the process step-by-step is a simple way to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed with work. Start early so by the time you are looking for jobs and internships, you have a solid foundation to build from. The CUPID Blog has even more resources on personal branding from portfolio design, to resumes, to branding for introverts. Make the most of your brand, but most importantly make the most of yourself because that’s who employers will be hiring, not your cover letter, not your resume, not your portfolio.

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