Why Your Personal Brand is More Important Than Your Resume
This is something I wish I would’ve done sooner so I’m passing it along to you. When I was in college, you can take a wild guess what my mind was on: drinks, boys, parties, weave and occasionally schoolwork. Yes, I passed and graduated but one thing I completely let fall through the cracks was my personal brand. My last course in my major was a portfolio class and I thought “all I have to do is have a good portfolio from this class and I can find a good job.”
Of course it wasn’t that simple.
This was also the time in my life that I knew I was a good writer but beyond history papers and journalism assignments, I really didn’t dig any deeper. I should have kept a running blog of my writing samples and projects but I threw together a website in DreamWeaver (trust me, it's awful) before graduation and never developed a real online presence. My spring break pictures on the beach and me taking selfies in class didn’t classify as a strong online presence and sadly, it doesn’t for you either.
Fast forward to me looking for a job, many applications asked for a personal website. Since my portfolio website for school was trash with a few good sample mixed in, that wasn’t going to cut it. So numerous applications I turned in completely lacking a strong personal brand to show off or just tagged on a few writing samples.
That’s exactly what people are looking for when you link your social media and website url to your applications: something that shows that you’ve been working personally with or without an actual position. I needed to show these communications managers that I wasn’t just a recent grad but a smart, internet and social media savvy recent grad. It took me a while but I began a blog with a few posts here and there and a Facebook page that I could link to applications, it wasn’t super strong but it was there.
Now, a full blog and over a year later, The Bronze Hustle is in existence and tons of marketing and communication influencers follow me on social media. Even Taye Diggs follows me on Twitter, don’t ask me for what, but it’s cool. Growing into an influencer has been a major journey for me and I've been getting more opportunities because of it.
Growing your personal brand basically means becoming an "influencer" in your own right. Being an influencer is such a common thing nowadays that there are people who have Instagram photoshoots who think that is the end all be all to having a brand. Don't get caught up on relying solely on social media to be your brand, you have to have an internet home as well.
Why you need a blog or at least a website to house your content:
I’m an advocate for starting blogs because so many amazing things can come from them. For example If you want to work in social media, you should have a social media blog and social media accounts that give your audience tips and tricks on the ever-changing trends on the popular channels. This goes with almost any job! if you're looking to grow in the interior design industry, start a Pintrest account, have a bomb Instagram and website all with inspiration and tips.You should always start small with managing and growing a few accounts for samples of your work, regardless of the industry.
If Instagram shut down right now, would your brand be able to sustain itself? If not, you need to find another more sustainable ways to build off of social media and offline in general. Recently, Fashion Bomb Daily lost access to their Instagram account and because of it, they were scrambling to house their content and keep things going. Don't ever be so dependent on social media that you can't pivot your brand without it.
How to hire yourself
Become a mini guru in your field and move yourself up.
Sakita from #HashtagsandStilletos has a really good podcast called “The Sakita Method” where she says you need to choose your company instead of them choosing you. You can seek companies you’re interested in and give them your samples instead of applying for millions of jobs hoping to get noticed while posting nothing but pretty cocktails on Instagram.
Make your own moves and then show them off. Starting a podcast, beginning a business, writing on your own blog etc are all ways to grow your personal brand. The amazing thing about starting all of these things is that you as the leader are growing your resume and can switch between different projects as they relate to YOU as a brand. I can always start other projects and have TBH as long as it runs smoothly with the personal brand I want to create for myself. Your projects are not you but they reflect positively or negatively on you.
Oprah is not O Magazine but O Magazine is apart of Oprah's personal and professional brand. Don't be afraid to try new things and grow your brand in various ways. There is no secret beyond hard work and consistency.
My new personal mantra is C.I.C., which stands for Create, Implement and Challenge. If I need to, I'll create an avenue for myself, work hard to implement and follow through and then challenge the status quo and my own work ethic to keep it going. I had to develop a mantra like that because putting my all in the hands of companies that didn't care anything about me or waiting on the right opportunities was just as draining as just putting myself in the right position.
Your personal brand is just that: putting yourself where you believe you belong and then constantly leveling up.
If you're looking to take things up a notch, we have a full personal branding masterclass in Hustle Hive Elite! You can access it and other 90 minute masterclasses by joining us below:
Author: Shay Duriel Davis, the Creator of The Bronze Hustle and Hustle Hive Elite