14 Questions to Ask Before You Build Your Personal Brand

Last Updated Mar 25, 2010 6:48 PM EDT

image credit:  seemoney.co.ukIf you're searching for a job or thinking about a career change, it's the perfect time to create a personal brand that you can promote online. Before you get started building your brand, take the time to perform a self-assessment, so you're sure you know what your brand really is. Answering the following questions about who you are will help you to create a brand that other people -- potential bosses, clients, and contacts -- will be more interested in. By basing your brand on what you do well and how you can serve others, you'll be much more effective as you start engaging with people both online and offline.
  1. What kinds of job opportunities are you currently pursuing now? Which ones are you not interested in at all?
  2. Which of your previous jobs provided you with work experience that relates to what you really want to do?
  3. If you were to describe yourself in one word, what word would you choose? Why?
  4. How would your last manager describe you?
  5. Do you work well in a team? If so, do you often find yourself becoming the project manager or leader?
  6. Are your co-workers constantly coming to you asking for help? Are their questions focused on a unique expertise that you have?
  7. Do you have a niche expertise? Have you done research to see if that market is saturated?
  8. Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years? What short-term goals will get you there?
  9. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? (Think like a company.)
  10. Are your writing skills strong? What's your favorite topic to write about?
  11. Who can you best relate to? Do you consider them your audience?
  12. Are you comfortable revealing personal information online? What information do you keep private?
  13. Do you care about what other people say about you? How does it affect you?
  14. How many hours each day are you online? What are you doing there? Is it benefiting you professionally?
Once you answer these questions, you'll have enough information to start assembling your brand profile. Questions 1 through 9 will help you to better define your interests and strengths, and 10 through 14 will help you decide what kind of online presence you want to create. (A blog or just a profile? What details do you want to include or exclude?) After reviewing your answers, figure out where you fit in the marketplace, how your current skills are relevant, and which companies can support your career goals.

The next step is to use this information to write a personal profile for your website, social media accounts (especially LinkedIn), and other places where you're selling yourself. Your profile should start with one sentence that sums up who you are and what unique value you can contribute. (For example, my profile begins, "Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for Gen Y.") It should then go on to give details about your experiences, skills, and any achievements, media coverage you've received, or organizations you're a part of. Think of it as a picture of the person you want to be, who already has the job you want. Focus on the things you're looking to do more of, and downplay the types of tasks you're hoping to leave behind.

[image credit: seemoney.co.uk]