Personal branding allows a professional to show the world what he or she is about as an individual employee. A personal brand can show the skills and qualities that someone has, defining what makes them important or different. In a competitive world, it is very important that individuals are able to find an edge on their competition. Here are five reasons you need to develop your personal brand.

1. Showing Value

Personal branding gives you all the control and power. If a person is well-connected and trusted by customers, peers and co-workers they are more likely to be respected by their employer. Employees can create impressive social media profiles to showcase their ability, connections and interest. You can achieve professional autonomy by creating a brand that proves your value and worth as an expert. A strong professional can be part of a strong team to make a strong company.

2. Building Self-Awareness

Personal branding allows you to show what matters to YOU. Your brand becomes about the skills and interests you have and are interested in, not what your job or environment might has dictate. If you’re lucky, your job and your interests will intersect.

3. Improving Visibility

You might think that avoiding having a social media presence altogether is the answer; after all, no information is good information, right? But you won’t be better off avoiding a professional role on social media – you will just be limiting yourself and your potential for growth. Instead, use social media as an opportunity to show professionalism and prove a value in the industry. This visibility could result in unexpected opportunities or a professional advantage down the road.

4. Establishing and Achieving Goals

A personal brand helps determine who you are and where you are going. Without clear direction, you might get stuck in the rut of your current path. A personal brand will help you consider how you define your current place and where you want to be in the near-distant future.

In order to get to a place you feel proud of, you need to have specific goals laid out. Goals that aren’t clearly defined and measurable are doomed to fail. Personal branding gives each professional the opportunity to pinpoint where he or she wants to go and how that could be accomplished with checkpoint goals along the way.

5. Career Advancement

Everyone wants to advance their career, right? You don’t want to stay in the same position forever, never learning, never growing. Personal branding provides the opportunity to work on improving their own value and edge on a personal level. The person who is concerned with their public presence is better able to make waves that will get them noticed down the road. It is far more difficult and offers far less impact if you build a brand at the last minute due to need, rather than building a brand over a long period of time with a small measure of foresight.