The rise of social media has made it more important than ever to have your own personal brand. Like a product brand, your personal brand tells people who you are and what value you bring to the world. Your personal brand is your reputation and it’s essential to take control of it, whether you’re a growing business or a job hunter. There are 5 key characteristics that it needs to have.

1. Consistent

All of your actions should be consistent with your brand image. You’ll become known for something that you always do and you shouldn’t stray too far from it. When you’re consistent, it shows that you’re reliable, and this helps to establish your credibility. When you’re inconsistent, this creates a disconnect that’s not conducive to branding. Although you should be consistent, remember that your personal brand isn’t static. It should evolve over time.

2. Unique

Uniqueness is key because your brand needs to set you apart from everybody else. However, you don’t want to force uniqueness by trying to be something that you’re not. Instead, look for your natural qualities that are unique to you. Don’t create it; discover it. What is your passion? What are you particularly good at? What makes you different? Look for the things you don’t see in others.

3. Personal

The personality of a business brand is more important to its fans than its actual products or services. This is no different for your personal brand. Show your personality as much as possible, especially when interacting with people online. Most people want to be seen as a friendly, generous, helpful expert. Spend your time connecting with others and learning from them.

4. Memorable

Memorability is probably the most important characteristic needed for personal branding. Even if you’re the world’s greatest blogger, if no one remembers your name 10 seconds later, your branding has failed. Highlight a small number of attributes or skills and don’t try to be master at everything. These few things that you really excel at will become linked to you in the minds of others. Be brazenly different and go against the grain. It will make you a leader rather than a follower.

5. Clear

Make sure that everything you produce shouts out loud what it is you do, what value you offer, and how you’re unique. Don’t make people think about it and don’t be subtle. Tell the world what it needs to know about you in as few carefully-chosen words as possible.

Personal branding is a relatively new concept and there isn’t a textbook that tells you how to do it. The best way to work on your brand is to watch and learn. Identify those who brand themselves well and follow them. Study what they do and learn to do it yourself. Pay especially close attention to how their words and actions are consistent, clear, unique, personal and memorable.