How to Create Your Career Brand in 5 Steps
Knowing how to build your career brand in an incremental, thoughtful way will get you noticed.
According to Michael Hyatt, a top 10 online marketing expert, author, and leadership mentor, you must create a platform to get noticed in a noisy world. First of all, however, before you can launch your platform, you need to develop your career brand.
His advice is solid.
In previous articles, we reviewed why every worker needs to create a career brand and how to achieve integration of personal, employer, and corporate brands.
The goal of this article is to:
- review the professional brand development model
- learn how to create a career brand presence
- see how the brand model is applied via a case study featuring Katy Lynch, founder and CMO of Codeverse
Personal Brand Development Model
Before we dig into Katy Lynch’s personal brand analysis, let’s review the five steps in the Personal Brand Development Model:
First of all, audit your personal brand online, conduct exercises to identify your style and preferences, identify behavior patterns regarding where and how you work, understand your strengths, and sketch out your career journey.
Create a brand position statement or point of difference, define your brand values, and establish a brand voice. (This part of the process is important foundation work, and will take some time to get it right!)
Establish appropriate elements such as a consistent professional photo, logo, colors, phrases, and illustrations.
Create consistent content for relevant social platforms like LinkedIn, and personal branding sites like about.me.
And finally, publish material online, spread your ideas, accept speaking engagements in your field. Become part of the fabric of the digital world.
A Brand Toolkit to Help You Get Noticed
How A Savvy Entrepreneur Developed Her Career Brand Platform
Katy Lynch is the cofounder and CMO of Codeverse, the world’s first fully interactive coding school and educational technology platform for kids.
Due to her ambition and creative ideas earlier in her career, she founded multiple startups. Her brand chronicle follows the five steps above. To read her full story, pick up a copy of Activate Your Agile Career: How Responding to Change will Inspire Your Life’s Work.
Due to her strong point of view about authentic communication, Katy subscribes to the philosophy of career brand management. She believes personal and business domains share a common consistent personality – an outlook that accepts the dual existence of work and life.
Here is how the brand model steps are applied to her career progression:
Born in Scotland, attending some grade school and high school years in the U.S., University in London, and now working in Chicago, Katy achieved self-awareness early.
While she adapted to her different environments, she experienced a few roles in the retail and restaurant industries. She then moved into technology and entrepreneurial businesses.
She discovered her sense of self through a “creator” community of people including entrepreneurs, engineers, and venture capitalists. Immersed in a perpetual incubator of ideas, she craves disruption and first mover advantage, creating the rules in undefined territory.
Katy’s career map summarizes her discovery journey.
Knowing where you’ve been in the form of a career mapping exercise is a great place to learn your strengths, likes, and dislikes.
If I were to define a brand position for Katy, it would be:
“A fiercely scrappy innovator and serial entrepreneur who will pick apart an idea until it works for the market, is reworked, or rejected. Helps companies and investors vet promising ideas. A tastemaker.”
Her brand values (words that describe how people experience her):
- Fiercely scrappy
- Get sh*t done
- I will figure out a way
Her brand voice (the tone and style in which she communicates):
- Forward thinking
Katy moved into various roles along her career path. When she launched her first business, SocialKaty, her initial branding colors splashed vivid dark pink and black, expressing a bold attitude. Fun, yet productive.
Although she sold this company to a large digital agency, she carries her confident color persona via her fashion presence, an important part of her brand.
In her current role as CMO for Codeverse, she established a similar bold, yet playful color scheme that entices and welcomes child coders and their parents.
She also dresses the part. Upscale for events, and super casual to sit on the floor with children. Jeans and t-shirts are welcome.
She intentionally crafted an image from social media expert, to CEO of a tech organization, to her current role today.
Her LinkedIn profile picture expresses her professional attitude. Her piercing blue eyes and serious gaze convey confidence with a no-nonsense persona.
You might even think it suggests a “don’t mess with me” character. She is a young businesswoman in command of who she is, and what she wants to accomplish in life.
Katy’s visible brand attracted the eyes of a much larger brand. She was chosen for Limited’s The New Look of Leadership Ad Campaign. Empowering, fashionable, contemporary clothing, and a serious photo that means business.
Katy crafts abundant presentations on her chosen topics: entrepreneurship, marketing, and technology. A smart way to attract organizations that are looking for a speaker on these topics.
She populated her LinkedIn profile, linking to relevant content published by her or written about her.
With an eye on technology developments and trends, she weighs in and shares updates via social platforms. Most notably, she does this on Twitter, where she has tens of thousands of followers. Due to this effort, she has earned thought leader status in the tech and marketing industries.
Her new venture Codeverse, has a goal of teaching a billion kids to code via a coding language called KidScript™. This is where her naturally curious personality and insistence on the fun part of learning shines.
One of the most visible ways to build a brand is through speaking and promotional engagements. Katy is in the media via TV, radio, podcasts, and social media channels.
Speaking engagements and workshops are a consistent opportunity for Katy to deliver valuable, relevant content. As a result, her frequent and consistent social media posts and significant accomplishments, Katy now enjoys the benefit of publishers writing stories about her.
Furthermore, she shares these ongoing articles with her network. Comments and responses on social networks continue to reinforce her brand.
It’s Your Move
In conclusion, while Katy’s career brand is firmly established, we can all learn from the actions she took to get there.
With the help of the career brand framework, you can apply your position, voice, and values for authentic communication. You will make decisions based on your values and use a tone of voice that feels right to you.
Finally, like any worthy habit, consistency accompanies you on the path to becoming memorable and getting noticed.
And, no need to worry about getting through the branding process all at once. It’s your story. You get to set the pace.
But, hey, at a minimum, it wouldn’t take much to update your LinkedIn profile with a better photo!
Join a community of agile careerists like Katy, and start on your personal brand journey – subscribe to new updates as they happen.