Personal Branding at Work—Tips for Employees

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The benefits of personal branding are clear. Having a prominent presence on social media platforms can deliver ROI ranging from new job opportunities to the ability to earn additional income.

We see prominent entrepreneurs enjoying these benefits with their personal brands as they create content and promote their various business ventures.

For the rest of us with “day jobs,” we might be unsure about how to approach personal branding, given that we have a commitment to our employers and do not want to create conflicts of interest. We also face the challenge of bootstrapping our personal brands in our free time while focusing on our jobs.

In this article, I am going to share tips for approaching personal branding in a way that creates a win for you, and a win for your employer.

Employees With Strong Personal Brands Are an Asset to Their Employers

Before we dive in on the tangible steps you can take to build a personal brand as an employee, let’s first align on the idea that employees with personal brands are an asset to their employers.

This is a lesson I learned while publishing my first two books. Publicly sharing personal projects that required significant time investments concerned me at first. I didn’t want my employer to think I was distracted, prioritizing my own projects over my job, or presenting other conflicts of interest.

When I published my books, not only did I get amazing support from my employer instead of pushback, I found out that having employees with prominent personal brands offers a host of benefits for employers.

Employees with prominent personal brands help their employers:

  • Establish credibility for their organizations.
  • Attract new customers. This is especially true in today’s market. People want to buy from people they trust and can engage with instead of faceless corporate brands.
  • Attract new employees.
  • Increase investor confidence. Investors don’t just invest in a company or its products. They invest in the company’s people and want to know they are putting their confidence in a team of knowledgeable experts.
  • Improve their corporate brand.

For example, if a marketing agency’s employees are active on X sharing marketing tips and analysis, they become an extension of the company’s brand. This helps the company attract new customers, employees, partners, and investors.

Rather than looking at a personal brand as something your employer will frown upon, look at it as another avenue for you to demonstrate value as your reputation contributes to the broader reputation of your company.

Knowing this can be a confidence boost, and help you to shed any feelings of doubt or imposter syndrome you might be facing as you assess personal branding.

That being said, let’s get into tactics you can deploy to build a fruitful personal brand while honoring your commitments to your employer.

1. Be Transparent With Your Employer

Let’s start out with a tip that I think is an incredibly powerful one. If you are concerned about your side hustles impacting your job performance, being too distracting, or upsetting your boss, consider being transparent about it with your employer.

Being upfront about the fact that you are going to be working on building a personal brand can help you to unlock the confidence and support you will need to do so.

Be transparent about your personal brand projects. Talk to your boss about your personal brand goals and let them know how important it is to you. That way they won’t be surprised when they see you becoming more active on platforms like social media.

Being transparent with your employer about your personal branding goals can prevent misunderstandings. It can also create synergy between your job and personal brand as they begin to benefit each other.

For example, when I wrote my first book, I gave my employer a heads-up, allowed them to review my final draft, and thanked them for being so cool about it once it was published. This set expectations with them ahead of time and turned a situation that might have been a surprise into one where I received great support.

As I mentioned in the previous section, employees with strong personal brands are an asset for their employers.

Being upfront about the fact that you are building your brand is a good way to set expectations and make sure you feel comfortable as you start creating more content online alongside your job.

2. Designate Specific Times for Personal Brand Work

Another way to prevent conflicts of interest at work while you are building your personal brand is to set a specific schedule for your personal branding work.

Eve Arnold, a prominent entrepreneur and content creator, is one of the original proponents of the idea of the “part-time creator.” This mantra is central to her brand and the lessons she teaches her audience about creating content and building a brand alongside a full-time job.

One of Arnold’s key tips is designating set times for personal brand work. For example, Arnold writes content for her personal brand every morning before starting her 9–5. This ensures she progresses on her own projects and protects her full-time work schedule.

For me, I work on the majority of my personal brand content on weekends. For example, I write first drafts of my Medium articles on Saturdays and Sundays. During the week, I come back to those drafts after work and spend an hour or two fine-tuning and publishing.

I characterize my approach as “meal prepping” my content, where I make most of it ahead of time for the week in a similar fashion to the way people cook their lunches or dinners for the week in batches on Sundays.

Whether you choose to designate set blocks of time outside of work, meal prepping your personal brand content, or some combo of the two, it’s a good strategy to designate personal brand working hours.

This will ensure you keep your personal brand goals on track while simultaneously protecting your work schedule and preventing conflicts of interest.

3. Start Creating Thought Leadership Content

Now that we’ve cleared the hurdles of establishing transparency at work and creating a schedule that protects your job commitments, what should you actually create for your personal brand?

Sharing commentary on your industry and what you do in your job is some of the lowest hanging fruit there is in personal brand building. That is because it is all stuff you already know.

You’ve made an investment in getting good at what you do in your job. The lessons you’ve learned, the challenges you’ve overcome, and your perspective on your industry are all excellent examples of topics you can start talking about online.

This can be as simple as sharing articles and industry reports, or as significant as committing to writing your own articles on platforms like LinkedIn and Medium.

Some ideas for getting started:

Re-share one article per day on LinkedIn, X, or Facebook. These should be relevant news articles and blog posts from publications and thought leaders in your industry.

  • Record TikTok videos where you give your take on the latest news in your industry each week.
  • Write a weekly newsletter where you recap projects at work and your approach to challenges you are facing.
  • Write a weekly X thread highlighting different news updates from around your industry.

Creating content about your day-to-day work is easy because you are living it. It is also great personal branding content because it will attract people in your niche who are facing the same challenges and opportunities.

3. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

Think of your social media profiles as digital resumes. Your profile photo, bio, and content feed all reflect who you are, your skills, and your expertise.

Optimizing the social media profiles and websites you use is a great idea because it will make an awesome first impression should coworkers, current employers, or potential future employers come across them.

As a professional working for an organization, I would consider prioritizing LinkedIn. Even if you choose another channel like a newsletter for the main channel you use to create content on, optimizing your LinkedIn profile is invaluable.

That is because LinkedIn’s professional network represents potential employers who will get exposure to your profile and the content you post.

A short social media profile optimization checklist you can use across most channels:

  • Always have a profile photo. Make sure it is on brand and consistent across all of your channels so you are recognizable.
  • Fill in your bio with your personal brand statement.
  • Link to your portfolio website, newsletter, and other assets from your profile where possible.
  • Fill out any other sections the social media channel offers, such as a cover photo, a work experience section like LinkedIn offers, or a categories section like YouTube channels offer.

4. Network With Other People in Your Field

Networking is critical for people across industries and job roles. That is because your network is a resource for helping you continue to progress on your career path.

Building relationships with professionals in your niche is not only beneficial, it is also highly enjoyable and rewarding. These are people who relate to your problems and challenges deeply.

You can ask them questions and share concerns only they will be able to relate to. Finding a handful of close connections in your niche and building a relationship where you regularly exchange value is a huge career asset.

For example, I have several marketing and communications professionals who I meet with monthly or quarterly. In our meetings, we discuss our latest projects and challenges and see where we can help each other.

In one instance, I needed help thinking about how to build a new partner marketing program. My friend was working on a corporate rebrand and I had just completed one. We were able to trade tips and work examples that were immensely beneficial for both of us.

Seek out other professionals in your niche and start building relationships. A simple request for a virtual coffee over a video conference call can be the start of a great friendship and invaluable professional connection.

5. Showcase Your Work and Achievements

One of the key benefits of building a personal brand as an employee is having a platform to showcase your work and expertise.

Having a LinkedIn profile or YouTube channel with evidence of your knowledge and projects is an asset for building a reputation in your industry.

For example, I add my books and other key pieces of content I create to my LinkedIn profile. Adding key projects to your social channels leaves a trail of work samples that look great to potential employers.

Other examples:

Perhaps you completed a marketing campaign at your company. In this instance, you could write a LinkedIn post explaining how your team approached the project, challenges you faced, and the ROI it delivered.

Maybe you work in ecommerce and just ran a promotion for a new product. You can recap that project and explain what worked and what didn’t to help other ecommerce professionals in your network learn.

I just came across a dentist who posted a TikTok video about their journey through dental school and what to expect. This content likely resonates with up-and-coming dental professionals.

Regardless of your job or industry, you have projects you are working on that other people will find value in. Think about projects your network might be curious about and start creating behind-the-scenes-style content about them.

Final Thoughts on Personal Branding for Employees

More people are realizing the benefits of personal branding and starting to create content online. The trend toward employees becoming content creators is one that drives ROI for the employees, and helps businesses embrace creator-led marketing.

Look for these trends to continue as more individuals and organizations realize what a win-win personal branding can be in employee-employer relationships.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Justin and I write Brand Credential.

I started Brand Credential as a resource to help share expertise from my 10-year brand building journey.

I currently serve as the VP of Marketing for a tech company where I oversee all go-to-market functions. Throughout my career I've helped companies scale revenue to millions of dollars, helped executives build personal brands, and created hundreds of pieces of content since starting to write online in 2012.

As always, thank you so much for reading. If you’d like more personal branding and marketing tips, here are more ways I can help in the meantime:

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