width=274Often 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 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 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, 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 you consistently do, that you're known for, and 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 people know 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!

About the Author:

CAREEREALISM Expert, Ilona (rhymes with Fiona) Vanderwoude's passion is helping modern-day Renaissance Personalities - those with highly diverse skills and interests - create exciting lives and careers. As a Career Designer, she guides her clients in crafting unusual life and career plans, helps them fit a million passions into one lifetime, and provides the tactical support to actually make it happen. Ilona founded CareerBranches in 2001, is a nationally published author, and holds elite resume-writing and coaching credentials (she's one of 28 Master Resume Writers worldwide).