Total
  • It’s time to kick negative millennial stereotypes to the curb.
  • Millennials are the largest generational group in the world and they’re driving the global workforce.
  • Building a personal brand is a way for millennials to carve an unconventional career.
  • By shaping your brand around your values, uniqueness and strengths, it can be the x-factor that makes you (and your resume) stand out.


With a population of 1.8 billion, millennials are officially the largest generational group in the world. And with the youngest millennial turning 22 this year, people born between 1981 and 1996 are becoming the drivers of the global workforce.

This, according to the Financial Times, means that it’s about time to look past the worn-out stereotypes of millennials as self-centred beings that just happen to be great with technology. Instead, it’s time to start thinking about what a career would look like for a generation of young people who just happen to be living in a completely different world than their parents.

One way in which many millennials are carving their careers is through their personal brands. Personal brands aren’t only for entrepreneurs or influencers but should be important to everyone as it’s that little x-factor that can make you stand out from a stack of CV’s. Developing your own personal brand is a proactive way of controlling your career development. It’s your way of saying: “This is who I am, and this is what I stand for.”

How to build your own personal brand

Laura Lake, author of Consumer Behavior for Dummies, writes that the need for a personal brand will continue to increase. “It’s the one thing that no one can take away from you, and it can follow you throughout your career. It’s a leadership requirement that lets people know who you are and what you stand for.”

She recommends these tips to building your own brand:

1. Get a platform to build your brand on

2. Identify your uniqueness and your strengths

3. Own your space by becoming an expert in your strengths

4. Share your knowledge through videos, social media and articles

5. Be yourself and don’t compromise on who you are

6. Identify the values and priorities that will guide your decision making

Millennials making a mark in SA

Three millennials from South Africa who carved out a personal brand for themselves in their careers are the winners of Total's Startupper of the Year Challenge: Nonhlanhla Phalama, Marnie Steyn and Kutlwano Ngwarati.

Although all three of them have backgrounds in engineering, they’ve made decisions according to their uniqueness and strengths to address different issues in their communities.

Nonhlanhla Phalama uses her passion for sustainability to set up hydroponics farms in rural schools and orphanages across SA. By setting up hydroponic home-based farms, Marnie Steyn plans to supply households with organic foods and educate people through online training and support. Kutlwano Ngwarati channels her passion for tech and education into an online platform that supplies textbooks and academic publications.

This post is sponsored by Total produced by Business Insider Studio for Business Insider.