Tips to Avoid This Huge Branding Mistake

June 2, 2010 | Uncategorized | Written by: admin

Often when I speak with a new client about personal branding or when I get a question from someone on this topic, there are two things that keep resurfacing. This is what I hear a lot:

“How do I develop my personal brand without sounding self-important and pompous?”


“How can my brand be authentic if I’m tweaking it for different job opportunities?”

Left to their own devices, I often see people’s confusion result in the following:

  • Concocting a “personal brand” that’s really not a brand at all because it’s just a vague description of something they have experience with.

Example: “Ten years experience in project management.” (Or: finance or marketing, etc.)

The problem: Lots of people have ten years’ experience in project management. It doesn’t tell us what sets you apart.

When you’re in the market for a new position, a personal brand should be developed in conjunction with your focus so it speaks to the hiring person of that specific field.

Keep in  mind that an employer’s bottom-line question – even if it is not asked – is whether you are worth your money. They want to know what you can do for the organization that makes it worth their while bringing you on board. Hiring is an expensive process! A wrong hire is extremely expensive.

Communicating your personal brand gives the people you network and interview with something specific and memorable – or at least it should!

Here are the answers to those questions – and your tips – to make sure you’re not committing “brand suicide.”

  • You stay authentic by, of course, not making things up, and by figuring out what you do, what skills you have, what combination of traits, or the kind of results you consistently get for whichever field and position you want to apply with.

Often, the core of the personal brand remains the same and you’re just tweaking parts of it when using it in a different industry or to position yourself for a different type of position. The thing to remember is that your brand – just like you – is multi-faceted.

  • Many folks fear coming off as self-absorbed when the topic of personal branding comes up. You need to remember, though, that even if you don’t uncover your own brand and take charge of it, you already have a brand.

How so?

We’re using the term “brand” here to describe how others perceive you. Brands are all about perception.

People will always have an opinion about you, no matter what you do. So when you uncover your brand and get comfortable communicating this to the world, you’re directing how others perceive you. you’re basically highlighting what’s most important for possible employers to know about you with your brand.

Ideally, you want to come up with something that you consistently do, that you’re “known” for, and that has bottom-line value to an organization.

Also; you should not worry about sounding pompous or self-absorbed as you’ll only be talking about facts. Your brand is based on you and your track record, so if what you described really happened (and of course that’s the case), then it’s not bragging – it’s letting peopleknow some great things about you that may be valuable to them in their organization.

See the difference in approach?

I’d love to hear what has worked for you!


  1. So, how do I uncover my personal brand?

    Comment by Gary — June 9, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

  2. Hi Gary,

    Sorry for my late response.

    Uncovering your personal brand is typically done through a combination of a 360 exercise to get input from those around you, some soul searching, and when I work with someone on their personal brand; a lot of questions I ask them.

    It’s not easy to do by yourself. I would not recommend it actually. I even hired a pro to uncover mine. It’s one of those things where we’re too close to the source to notice it. Your brand is (partly) about things that you do really well and often, those are the things we take for granted.

    If you want to hire someone to uncover your brand I’d be happy to give you a referral. I only work on branding with my clients as part of a job or career transition package that includes resume writing and job search coaching.

    Hope this helps!

    Comment by Ilona — June 17, 2010 @ 6:48 am

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