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A Fresh Take on Personal Branding

best practices career advice interview tips resume resume writing Jan 30, 2023

Do you prefer podcasts? Check out the in-depth exploration PLUS bonus features on Tattooed Freaks in Business Suits:


Chances are, you probably have heard the term "personal branding" kicked around the job searching advice online for years. In fact, the whole concept was invented to help candidates stand out among the vast sea of job seekers during the Great Recession of 2008 - 2010, when unemployment hit over 8%.


But what is it – and is it still relevant?


In a 2013 Forbes article, author Glenn Llopis states: "Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving."

In essence, creating a personal brand hinges on developing a consistent and clear message that encompasses the following:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you can do
  3. Where you've done it
  4. Bonus: How does it relate to the employers' needs


Well, that sounds great, but how do we translate that into words on a resume or a LinkedIn profile? And honestly, would employers really care?


The importance of being yourself

Today, companies want to hire someone that will fit in with their culture. How will they know if you are the right person if you aren't yourself? And to tell the truth, when you build a brand based on your traits, it is a lot easier to be consistent across multiple platforms – including during your interviews, on the resume, and even your social media presence.


Not only should your brand relate to your personality, it is critical to be CONSISTENT. Employers don't trust candidates who appear different than the image of their resume – and they especially dislike it when an interviewee changes their personality based on who they meet. (Trust me, listen to my podcast for a time when I lost out on a good job for exactly that reason.)


Quick Exercise: Creating a real personal brand

Rather than dredging up job descriptions, I want you to think about who was your childhood hero. They can be fictional or a real person, just so long as you have a clear picture in your head. Next, think about what qualities they possessed. Finally, consider how many of those traits are still part of you today:

  • My childhood hero:
  • What qualities did they possess:
  • How many of those are part of me today?

Believe it or not, those unique qualities ARE your personal brand. We want to weave those unique identifiers into your job search messaging, including your resume, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and interview answers.

 Of course, you earn bonus points if you use keywords that relate to your actual job, but you first need to understand WHO you are BEFORE we push that into words that a computer or recruiter would use to screen your resume.


Example: My hero

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Luke Skywalker.


I am a Gen X, so I am referring to Luke Skywalker from the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV – VI) and the Expanded Universe from the books before Disney bought them. So, no, not the Luke who ran away on an island for a decade. Although, let's face it, you can't entirely blame him for wanting to kill Kylo Ren. I think anybody who has tried to teach a teenager anything can relate…


But I digress.


When I think of Luke Skywalker, these are the traits that stand out to me:

  • Talented
  • Overcomes seemingly unsurmountable odds
  • Dedicated
  • Confident
  • Empowering teacher
  • Sees the best in others (sometimes to a fault)


When I reflect on my personality, many of these are still reflected in who I am today:

  • I possess many talents that I have continued to hone.
  • As a previous teenage mother with three kids, I actually did overcome the odds to meet my goals and eventually found my own business.
  • As a career coach, I am dedicated to the success of not just myself but also my team and our clients.
  • It takes a lot of confidence to be a speaker.
  • I love teaching people – especially when they gain a big breakthrough.
  • I often try to help people become their best selves, either personally or professionally – or even both.


When I developed my LinkedIn profile, I tried incorporating as many of these traits as possible. After all, many career coaches can write a resume or improve people's interview skills. However, NO ONE ELSE has the exact life experiences, talents, beliefs, or inherent nature that I offer our clients.


And that, my friends, is what personal branding is really about!


Now it's your turn…

  • Think about who inspired you.
  • What were their traits?
  • How many of these have you incorporated into your life?
  • Use these as a basis for building a personal profile.


Be sure to check out my Tattooed Freaks in Business Suits podcast for a deep-dive on personal branding:


Need help figuring out how to use your personal brand in your resume, LinkedIn profile, networking efforts, and interviews? Contact us to set up a complimentary consultation to learn about our writing and coaching services:

Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline

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