Your Personal Branding Project: How to Build a Personal Brand for Career Growth

Discover the power of personal branding and how certifications like the CAPM® and PMP® can help you stand out in project management.

Written by Project Management Institute • 10 May 2024

Your Personal Branding Project

From essential infrastructure to space exploration to your favorite video games, project managers lead all types of projects across diverse industries, using their expertise to turn ideas into reality. And in the fast-paced world of project management, one powerful tool is often overlooked: your personal brand. Defining and refining your personal brand can be a game-changer, whether you’re just stepping into the workforce or advancing your career.

But what is personal branding? According to Tyler Norman, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, PMP, Sr. Program Manager, Business Operations, Scholastic Inc., “branding is an intentional effort to convey information about yourself, including your skills and unique value proposition.”

We asked the PMI community how they felt about personal branding as part of their career journey. That survey revealed that 36% of project managers recognize the importance of personal branding but have yet to define their brand identity. And another 37% have taken steps to develop their personal brand but feel they still need guidance to refine and strengthen it. These insights underscore a clear appetite among project professionals for direction in honing their personal brand—a crucial move in accelerating their career.

So, where do you start on this journey? Imagine your personal brand as a project. Much like steering a project, managing your personal brand demands documentation, planning, stakeholders, and strategic thinking, and you can set similar benchmarks for your personal brand—like objectives for growth, milestones, target audience, and the strategic actions needed to realize your aspirations.

First, think about what you want to accomplish. This means defining your vision and mission, and reflecting on who you are, your values, and your project management career goals, and documenting it.

“One of the big things that I tell people is to get thoughts on paper and start to flesh out real details so that it's not just in your head,” explains Tyler who will present “The Internal Consultant - Managing Your Brand as a Project Management Expert” at PMI® Global Summit this fall. “I've documented plans, I've set SMART goals, and I've tracked towards those goals, and I've seen the momentum build in a significant way as a result.”

Then, identify what sets you apart. While doing this, Tyler suggests asking yourself key questions like:

  • How would you describe yourself? How would others describe you?
  • What drives you or gives you energy? What saps your energy?
  • What are you uniquely good at? What kind of challenges make you thrive?
  • What do you struggle with?
  • If you had a magic wand, how would others see you?

One powerful way to set yourself apart is with certifications. Two in-demand certifications to consider are the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® and Project Management Professional (PMP)®. Holding a widely recognized professional certification not only demonstrates your commitment to professional growth but also positions you as a standout candidate in the project management field.

Next, decide how to communicate your personal brand. And consider how much time you can commit to your personal branding journey per week given competing professional and personal priorities. Tyler also recommends creating a statement. 

“Start by saying I am a [blank] who wants to [blank] at this kind of organization,” he says. “I would work on that, and I would put it on paper and boil it down to an elevator pitch. Something that’s 20 to 30 seconds that says this is who I am, this is what I'm good at, and this is brings me passion.”

Now put your efforts to work. You can do this by networking, including PMI chapter opportunities, participating on social media channels like LinkedIn, identifying advocates for your brand, and being a thought leader. On our Projectified® podcast, Yasmina Khelifi, Senior Project Manager at Orange, says she recommends keeping a content calendar with different media to post and as well as a posting cadence. This may include original content and content from other thought leaders you want to reshare.

After that, both Yasmina and Tyler agree that monitoring your personal branding efforts is key. Adjustments may be needed, and feedback from peers and mentors can help. This can be done by auditing your personal brand, which helps improve your brand and messaging.

“Questions you can use for an audit are, ‘what's said about me when I'm not in the room?’ or ‘If I were promoted and had to train somebody to do my role, what would you have them do differently?’,” says Tyler.

Yasmina recommends reaching out to colleagues for feedback as well. “I did this anonymous survey, and it was quite powerful. It forces you to listen to people,” she says. “I asked them three questions: ‘What expertise do you associate with me?’ ‘Can you name two strengths you see?’ And can you name two areas of improvement?’.”

Lastly, keep in mind that personal branding is an ongoing journey. Stay up to date on industry trends and upskill to remain relevant in project management. And remember, personal branding is not just about creating a polished image—it’s about authentically showcasing your unique value proposition and leaving a lasting impact.

“Your personal brand should embody the best version of you, not just something you wear when needed,” explains Tyler. “The key is to be intentional.”

Start your personal branding project

Take charge of your career trajectory and kick off your personal branding project with our certifications.

Learn more 

You Might Also Like…

  • How Project Leaders Can Boost Their Personal Branding—Projectified® Podcast | Listen 
  • My CAPM Certification Journey—The PMI Blog | Read
  • Global Project Management Job Trends 2024Thought Leadership | Read  


Project Management Institute
Author | PMI

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