Hatch’s guide to developing a personal brand that's authentic and helps you stand out from the crowd.
You may have been told once or twice that you should glow up your personal brand and it will increase your likelihood of early career success. Whilst it might not be the case for every industry or employer, we still think it’s definitely a worthwhile exercise.
This blog dives into why developing a personal brand can add value to your early career progression, and our top tips on how to get your personal brand off the ground and ‘glowing’.
Let’s jump in.
Why is personal branding important?
- It allows you to showcase your whole self, alongside your professional capabilities.
- It gives you a platform to establish your expertise and credibility.
- It enables you to make a memorable impression and build trust with industry stakeholders.
- It can increase your network and make it easier to apply for roles.
- It can increase your earning potential.
- It opens the opportunity to have a point of view on topics you care about.
Step by step
Personal brand is deeply ‘personal’ and there is no specific rulebook on getting it right. If you stay true to yourself, your personal brand will shine. Personal branding may be more relevant or important depending on the industry or role that you’re in. Or it simply might not be your thing, that’s okay too!
Here are our top tips to amplify your personal brand.
- Communicate your story
Have you ever been in a class where a teacher was just reading through a bunch of facts and you were struggling to retain the information? It went in one ear, then out the other. You may have also got lost and started to stare out the window.
Comparatively, have you ever felt exhilarated by a personal story someone has told you that has ignited your senses so much so that you just won’t ever forget it?
Well, that’s the beauty of storytelling! It can make us remember things far better than rattling off a list of ‘stuff’. In fact, research by Dr. Jennifer Aaker (Stanford Graduate School of Business) found that “a story is up to twenty-two times more memorable than facts alone.”
So, how can you tell a story in the context of your early career?
The five key elements of good storytelling
- Plot: What has happened in your early career/life so far and what’s on the horizon?
- Setting: What characterises you and your unique early career/life story? What descriptive language can you use to bring that setting to life?
- Characters: Who has been involved so far and who do you want to be involved with next?
- Point of view: Where do you stand in your industry? How are you different and how do you add unique value?
- Conflict: Are there any challenges you’ve had to overcome along the way that add depth to your story?
The different ways you can communicate your story
- Written form: There are lots of great platforms to share your story, for example your Hatch profile, your LinkedIn profile, or a personal website if you have one.
- Video: When you apply to roles on Hatch, you’re able to share your unique story in your profile introduction video.
We love this example below from Murray Hurps, Director of Entrepreneurship at UTS that displays how he has articulated his career story in written form.
- Get creative
There are many ways you can add some sparkles to your personal brand presence online, here’s a few quick wins that are pretty low effort.
- Photography: You don’t have to have anything too flashy to achieve a semi-professional headshot. For example, I went into a cool co-working space in the city with my best friend for the day and used portrait mode on my iPhone to capture a great photo. (See the headshot in the blog avatar above). What I learned from this was to use a space with great natural light. Let the light come in from behind the camera onto a wall that’s simple and vibrant in light. I dressed in a neutral colour because of the contrasted backdrop, but this is totally up to you. If you’re lucky enough, your employer might organise a professional headshot for you when you join their team. If you prefer to keep your photo anonymous you could experiment with something like a designed avatar.
- Design: Depending on your personal tone, the industry you are in and your preference, we think that small design elements can add a lot of personality to your brand. Think of things like emojis in text, thumbnail images on your Hatch prompts, projects or a LinkedIn banner that adds character to your story etc.
- Videos and prompts: On your Hatch profile, Hatch lets you create an intro video about yourself as well as respond to prompts to help bring your whole self to the table. These are our top tips on how to create a great profile video on Hatch.
- Show don’t tell
People can talk all day about what they’ve done, but it can help to gain credibility and trust by showcasing the work that you’ve done.
A few good ways to do this is to upload projects to your Hatch profile that you’re proud of, and bring them to life with thumbnail images or gifs to add vibrancy to your profile. You can also post about work you’ve done and care about on social platforms like LinkedIn to gain more visibility.
- Build relationships authentically
Networking is something we hear about a lot but it can be easier said than done.
Our recommendations may sound a bit different to what you normally hear, but we’re big believers that it all comes down to being authentically human and building genuine relationships. Then, sure you can follow up with a connection request, but let’s start with actually building a relationship first.
- Join communities: Joining communities which you have shared values and interests with is a great way to build long-term relationships. You can discover communities you care about via platforms like Meetup, LinkedIn or societies within educational institutes. For me, the communities I’m interested in as someone in tech are Earlywork and Fishburners. You can also get involved in different charity organisations, industry-specific groups or learning communities like Toastmasters. There are hundreds of groups out there, you just have to do a bit of research to find them.
- Ask: It might be daunting asking people for their time but I can assure you that the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. If there is a particular mentor you are interested in learning from, reach out to them for a coffee and just make sure to give back to them which takes me to my next point.
- Give back: In your early career, you may feel like you have limited value to offer back to other parties in return for their network and value, however, that is not the case. If someone offers you their time, you can give back by simply reassuring them that you’ve learned from them. Share your thanks and where you’ve used your knowledge to better your life. Small gifts of thanks – tangible or not, can go a long way in this context. Another great way to give back is to volunteer for causes that you care about, and yes it will add value to your profile, and build your network but that’s just a nice bonus to the intrinsic value of volunteering. A great example of this is how Hatch community member Alex Cheng founded Careers in Colour organisation.
- Building rapport: Most of rapport building with stakeholders comes from just being your authentic self and playing to your strengths, which for each of us looks different. For me, I've found getting involved in community, giving back and being an active listener with each person I meet has helped me build stronger connections. Find what works for you, and feels natural.
- Share content you care about
Sharing your point of view in digital and physical settings is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. There are a few ways you can approach thought leadership and content creation.
- Create niche content: Creating value-adding content that’s specific to one problem space or discipline can be helpful in building an engaged audience. A great example of this is Abhishek Maran sharing tech and business strategy content via LinkedIn and Substack to engage his audience and share his point of view.
- Say yes to opportunities: If you’re presented with an opportunity to share your point of view on a platform like a blog or podcast that aligns with your values and goals say yes! This content is a great way to showcase credibility in your industry.
- Contribute to the conversation: When you build your network, you’ll likely see other content shared by like-minded people in your industry. If you genuinely have something to add to a conversation, be sure to share your thoughts on topics you care about.
There are many ways to showcase your authentic personal brand in both digital and physical settings. Personal brand is very ‘personal’ and looks different for everyone, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We hope to have shared some practical tips that resonate with you and your early career goals. Glowing up your Hatch profile is a great place to start.