Many professional services leaders appreciate the value of differentiating their firm’s services from those of competitors. But many of these same professionals fail to recognize that they can differentiate themselves, too, and take their careers to a new level of visibility, respect and value. If you fall into this camp, you’re not alone. The good news is that taking the next step isn’t hard. And you can get started by developing a personal brand statement that puts a spotlight on your expertise.

What is a personal brand statement?

Do you want people to associate you with the value you deliver? A personal brand statement is a brief paragraph that describes your expertise and, most importantly, how your approach is different from other experts in your field. It is also the perfect place to define whom you serve in the marketplace.

What’s in it for you?

Many professionals find it difficult to succinctly say what they do. This exercise will help you with that. The process of developing your individual branding statement is an opportunity to consider what you do best and how you want prospects to perceive you. Do you have a specialization or serve a particular industry? How do you want people to perceive you? As you consider questions like these, you may notice some weaknesses in your personal brand — some skills that you need to work on. Don’t get discouraged. That’s useful information that you can act on. And as you write your statement, you may find yourself speaking about a version of yourself that isn’t fully baked yet. In fact, a little aspiration can be a wonderful thing, so long as it’s attainable. Embrace your better self and use it to motivate you to reach a higher level of mastery and success.

How to write a personal brand statement

When you sit down to write your statement you’ll need to answer a few questions: What are you an expert in? What do you specialize in (if anything)? What other factors make you different from your competitors? The answers will provide the ingredients you need. Your personal brand statement should consist of four to six sentences. Whether you choose to write it in the first person or the third person, keep the tone conversational and to the point — no technical language or industry jargon. When you are ready, follow these three easy steps:

  1. Describe your expertise: “I am an expert in ________________.”
  2. Build out the middle: Tell your story — how you’re different, what problems you solve, who you serve. Remember, two or three sentences should be all you need here.
  3. Write a concluding sentence: Tie up the paragraph with a bow — speak again to your expertise or most compelling differentiator. If you can, try to give your conclusion a little inspirational zing.

That’s all there is to it!

It always helps to have a model you can follow. Here’s a real-world example of a personal brand statement for a sales consultant based in Europe:

“I am a leading expert on the buyer’s perspective in the complex B2B sale. I teach sales teams across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa how to use insight selling and empathy for a buyer’s challenges to overcome objections and inspire confidence. I bring proven, research-based techniques to every engagement, as well as my long experience as an executive-level buyer and CxO at blue-chip firms. And I have first-hand knowledge of how C-Suite executives make purchasing decisions. So if you want to win more sales in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, I can help sales professionals open new doors on the close.”

Where do you go from here?

Whether you are an aspiring Visible Expert® or a professional who wants to take a first step toward building a sophisticated personal brand, you need to understand who you are today and who you want to become. A personal brand statement will help you get there. It won’t make you a superstar or more successful by itself but it will help you focus, in ways you hadn’t before, on what you do best, who you serve and the unique value you provide. If nothing else, the process of thinking strategically about your expertise could launch you and your career in an exciting new direction.