Personal brand guide for Veterans

In the military you were trained to fit in, but as a veteran, it’s time to stand out. 


During your time in the ADF you’ve been trained to fit in, conform and toe the line. But as a veteran, it’s time to stand out. In fact, getting ahead in the civilian workforce relies upon it.

Creating a clear personal brand identity is a powerful way to let prospective employers know what you have to offer that makes you stand out from the crowd. But how do you toot your own horn when you’ve been trained to fall in line?

Don’t worry, the RSL Veterans’ Employment Program has your back. In this article, we provide tips on building your personal brand identity as a veteran, along with some personal brand examples.  

If you’re looking to build a career, here are some steps you can take to build your personal brand and show the civilian workforce what you’ve got.



What is a personal brand?


A personal brand is the story you want to tell the world - or at least, potential employers. It’s kind of like a reputation, and allows you to communicate your skills, interests and values. A question you may have asked yourself at some stage throughout your Defence training is ‘what do you stand for?’ This is your personal brand.

Having a clearly communicated personal brand identity is vital for anyone looking for meaningful employment – not just veterans. If your spouse or family member could use some support in developing their personal brand identity, take a look at this post to see how the RSL Veterans’ Employment Program can help.



Why is personal brand identity important?


By working out what you stand for, you’ll be able to plan for your future career. Your personal brand functions as a filter for the types of jobs that’ll suit you. You’ll be able to identify employers that align with your values and goals and give those that don’t a wide berth. And when it comes to applying for that ideal job, you’ll be able to clearly communicate what you have to offer and why you’re the right candidate for the role.

Read more about why creating a personal brand identity is important in this article from Seek.



What is your unique value proposition, or UVP?


Your UVP is the thing that sets you apart; your key selling point. This forms the foundations of your personal brand. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you have to offer an employer?
  • What are the ideal companies you’d like to work for, and why?
  • How will you help them move forward and reach their goals?
  • What makes you different from your peers and other potential candidates?

That last question is the key, but can be tricky to answer. Talking it out with a trained career professional can help, as they’ll be able to help pinpoint the experiences and skills that make you stand out. This is where the RSL Veterans’ Employment Program can help; our career coaches understand both the military and civilian workforces and can help you to bridge that gap. 

Creating your personal brand identity


Once you have addressed the above questions, it’s time to put your answers into practice and craft a personal brand. Here’s how.


Step 1: Define your goals

There’s no doubt you’ve done plenty of goal setting in your time. Now it’s time to put a new set of goals into practice. From your ambitions to the type of work you want to do, this is a chance to decide how you want your professional life to look going forward.

You may want to consider your reasons for leaving the ADF here. What is it you’re looking for that civilian life can offer?


Step 2: Create a narrative

For those in marketing or communications, a story arc won’t be new to you. It’s a powerful tool because it’s human nature to remember stories. Think about someone you admire. Why? It’s because of their story; the way they’ve built their life, how they’ve reached their achievements. When it comes to translating your military career for a civilian employer, creating the narrative around how your past fits into your present will help them remember you.

One thing to remember here: keep it professional. The story is about how your work experience and unique skill set fit into this company and its business goals.


Step 3: Put yourself out there

It’s time to market yourself. Start networking, reaching out to contacts, and showing them who you now. Ensure your online presence is strong. Set up your LinkedIn account and clean up your social media accounts. Set your accounts to private, but remember this isn’t foolproof. Ensure anywhere you are found online fits your newly defined personal and professional brand. Might be time to delete those Oktoberfest photos from 2008!


Step 4: Write your brand statement.

Your personal brand statement can be used in a few ways. Whether it’s via your social media profiles, resume, or online portfolio or website, this is the statement that’s succinct and clearly outlines who you are – the professional you. It’s an elevator pitch that should make people want to learn more about you.



Personal brand statement examples


Personal brand example 1: Santa Claus

I am jovial logistics expert who runs the world’s biggest global toy manufacturing company. I’m an aviation extraordinaire and my niche is flying reindeer. I’m a proven entrepreneur who pioneered the world’s first overnight toy delivery system, via the chimney method.


Personal brand example 2: Jessie Jones

I help small businesses make a big impact sustainably, by reducing waste.


Personal brand example 3: Briar Cook

As a passionate and determined leader with an entrepreneurial spirit, I inspire employees to work at the highest level and cultivate a team culture that’s respectful, loyal and trusted. With more than a decade’s experience managing teams in the armed forces, I aim to bring out the best in everyone. My compassionate and authentic management style is built on comradeship, which instils pride and ensures a productive, safe and efficient work output.



The RSL Veterans’ Employment Program can help


The RSL Veterans’ Employment Program is a free service for veterans, their spouses and their immediate family members. Our career coaches are available to work with you one-on-one, to help develop your personal brand and make your career goals a reality. Reach out to us today.