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Personal branding for career success
Personal branding for career success

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2 Day to day writing


The most difficult thing to get across effectively in an email is tone. How many times have you read an email and felt slightly disgruntled by the sender’s attitude? But they might not have intended to come across like that. Staying true to your personal brand might help you to avoid that situation yourself.

Holloway (2017) recommends that you start your emails with something that will build rapport. For example, you might start with ‘Hope all’s well in the accounts department on this horrible rainy day. I’m not looking forward to cycling home!’ or ‘Thanks for your message last week, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply − a series of small crises has kept me away from email for a few days.’

There’s an opportunity for them to refer to your comment in their reply (‘I got wet on my way home too!’), which starts to build that rapport between you.

There are various ways to communicate your personal brand via email:

  • By being authentic in your tone and language
  • By drawing attention to shared experience or shared values
  • By asking the recipient if they have time for a coffee so you can discuss the issue (that gives you an opportunity to also demonstrate your brand in person)
  • By always responding to emails quickly and efficiently, e.g. by sending a holding email if it is likely to take you some time to respond fully. The recipient is more likely to pay attention to the tone and content of your messages if they are not furious about the amount of time it has taken you to reply!
A woman sits on the floor with her laptop open.
Figure 2 You’ve got mail

Business reports and papers

Meetings inevitably involve paperwork, and sometimes you might be the author. For example, you might be writing a report or update on a particular project, a bid for funding, or a proposal to change something. Your readers will form opinions about you based on what they read.

Although the topic might be unrelated to your personal brand, there are ways in which you can get those consistent messages about aspects of your brand across. Consider what you want the reader to think about you as they read it, e.g.

  • He really knows what he’s talking about
  • Some serious research has gone into this document
  • She seems to have consulted widely
  • He cares about the people this will impact on
  • She isn’t afraid of change
  • He has some creative ideas
  • Her team are clearly behind her, etc.

Business cards

Some commentators predicted that social media would kill off the business card, but it hasn’t happened yet. For many it remains a useful tool because:

  • It stops you from getting lost in someone’s phone contact list
  • It serves as a useful reminder of your brand whenever someone comes across it in their wallet, bag, desk drawer, etc.
  • It means that you don’t have to waste time spelling out your email address as they type it into their phone – just exchange cards and do the follow up later.

Many of us are restricted by the business card design of the organisation we work for, but if you were able to design your own business card, how would you convey your personal brand?

Think back to Week 3, Activity 3, when you thought about what colour your brand would be. This could be the time to use that colour.

If you can encapsulate your personal brand in a statement, that could also be included. BrandYourself (2017) describes the following examples as your ‘catchphrase’ about your specific experience:

  • I help people create new opportunities in their businesses and careers
  • I am a personal trainer, specialising in weight training and mobility
  • I give authors visibility on untapped promotional platforms where they can share their work
  • I spark new product ideas for large companies that have stagnant product cycles.

Although the author doesn’t include job role or title, you can see from these examples how a focus on what you can do for others might strengthen your offering.

Activity 2 My personal brand statement

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Try to encapsulate your personal brand in a sentence suitable for a business card and write it in the box below.

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Even if you don’t plan to produce your own business cards, being able to summarise your brand in a sentence could be a useful opener to discussions about what you do and why someone should be interested. It might become the first line of your elevator pitch. You’ll look at elevator pitches in more detail in Week 8.

Now you’ve looked at some of the ways you might promote your brand in writing, you’ll move on to consider how you might do it in person.