If you think branding is something that concerns only ad agencies, big corporations and maybe celebrities, it's time to heed the legendary words of management guru Tom Peters in "The Brand Called You."

"It's time for me – and you – to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that's true for anyone who's interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work…To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."

So how do you create the brand called You?

You can follow advice offered by HR and hiring expert Carol McDaniel.

"Leaders in the Industry" webinar

As director of talent acquisition at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., McDaniel manages the unique recruitment needs of a specialty children's hospital. She also serves as president-elect with HR Florida – the state affiliate for the world's largest human resource management association, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Passionate about recruitment and a sought-after speaker, McDaniel shared her insight into the hiring process and the importance of personal branding during a Saint Leo "Leaders in the Industry" webinar. Presented by the university's Center for Online Learning (COL), the live, interactive webinar series gives online degree students insight into a variety of career fields and how to get hired in today's market.

What is personal branding?

According to McDaniel, personal branding is important for anyone looking to enter the workplace – whether it's for the first time or after being away for a while.

"Your personal brand is what differentiates you from others. It's what is unique about you," says McDaniel. "It's what your company or your colleagues would miss most about you if you were to leave your job, college or environment today."

But how do you identify those unique qualities and develop your brand?

Here are McDaniel's suggestions.

12 steps to create your personal brand or help define it

1. Determine your unique value proposition

What makes you different from your peers? What are your strengths? What are you passionate about? What are your goals? All of these things help determine how you should present yourself.

2. Find out how others see you

How you are perceived by others matters. It contributes to your brand.

3. Ask key questions

Talk to friends and trusted colleagues and ask them what they think your strongest attributes are. Others may see strengths in you that you don't.

4. Identify your goals

You have heard this advice before, but now it's time to do it. Where do you want to be in six months, one year and five years? You will be amazed at how easily you can reach your goals if you make a plan and stick with it.

5. Identify your target audience

Successful companies know their target audience, and the same approach can create success in a job search. Know who you are trying to reach. That determines which professional organizations you join, as well as who you reach out to on a daily basis.

6. Recognize your priorities

Be loyal to yourself first. While it is important to help others and give back to your network, you must focus on yourself first, as part of your personal marketing plan.

7. Pay attention to the details

Everything you do and say contributes to your brand. Your dress, body language, behavior, emails, tweets, Facebook posts, who you follow on social media and who follows you all reflect on you.

8. Update your resume

A few tips include: eliminate typos, avoid writing in the third person, and don't use a photo. It goes without saying, there is simply no excuse for mistakes on a resume.

9. Become a social networker

Connecting people you know, who may be in different worlds, helps build your network. Plus, people remember if you introduced them to someone who helped them get great job and will be even more willing to help you.

10. Read blogs

Read, write, share and comment on blogs related to your field. It's how people start to perceive you as a leader in your industry.

11. Check yourself out online

Free tools such as Klout and SumAll can help you use social media more strategically, determine if your social media presence is growing and if you are making an impact online.

12. Go offline

While enhancing your social media presence is important, nothing matters more than meeting people face to face. Attend professional events. Check out events a company you are interested in is sponsoring and talk to people. Then follow-up on those contacts.

McDaniel says that it can take anywhere from one to six months, depending on the industry in which you are interested, to build your brand socially.

"After that, it still requires constant work," she says. "You have to stay active and keep feeding that animal. While you may have success in as little as three months, you have to continue to grow your network."

What are you doing to develop your the brand called You?

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Why Developing A Good Work Ethic Is Essential To Career Success

Video Resumes Show Off Your Start Qualities

How To Get Great Letters Of Recommendation

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