Personal Traits photo from ShutterstockDo you have a personal brand vocabulary?

What words do you use to describe yourself? These should be words that describe yourself personally and professionally.

I am currently working with two clients who are struggling with finding their personal brand vocabulary. Here are a couple of methods to discover your personal brand vocabulary.

How do people describe you?

The reality is, you probably do not know how people describe you. You may think you know, but do you really?

Pick 6-12 people who you trust and ask them for the following:

  • Please give me 3-5 words or phrases that describe me.
  • If I were an animal, what animal would I be? Okay only give this one to people you really trust!

Evenly divide the list between people who know you from work and friends from outside of work.

I will almost guarantee you that you will be surprised at the answers. I have heard clients say, “I never thought people saw me in that way,” or “I know I am a certain way, but I did not think people saw it in me.”

What words do you want to use to describe yourself professionally?

This is where keywords come into play. This vocabulary list should contain words and phrases you use commonly. It should also include words and phrases that are commonly used within your industry.

What if you are pivoting your career or changing industries? Harvest the vocabulary from LinkedIn!

This is where LinkedIn Advanced Search comes into play.

What job title(s) do you want? Fill out the title field with each job title you might want. If you want to narrow by industry, click the check boxes of the industries that you want to search. Finally, fill in your current zip code or the zip code where you might want to relocate to in the Postal Code field and set the appropriate range (it defaults to 50 miles or 80 kilometers). Click on Search.

You now have a list of 100+ people in your network who have a title similar to the one you want. Look at each profile in the following fields:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Current job description

Do you see a set of common phrases? You may want to automate this process a bit using a word cloud tool like Wordle or Tagcrowd. Read this article Finding Keywords to Manage Your Career [Video] to learn more.

What you are looking for is the vocabulary that is commonly used by everyone else!

What next?

Combine the two lists and then weave these phrases into you resume, cover letters, LinkedIn profile, and your day to day language. The key is to be consistent when you write material that you will post in Social Media.

Once you have discovered your personal brand vocabulary, use it everywhere to create a consistent brand.

Read more: 7 Ways to Repurpose Content for Your Personal Brand