Job Search and Personal Brand

I like to read RecruitingBlogs to see what recruiters are thinking about, talking about, and reading.

Today I saw a post by Ineke Read titled Building your Personal Brand. Check it out for a primer on what personal branding is.

As I travel around the country I hear people who are down on the idea of “personal branding.”  That’s okay, not everyone has to agree with it.  I’ve heard plenty of recruiters say that personal branding is overrated, not worth the time, etc.

I think the biggest problem is how people define personal branding. If you think your goal is to develop a brand like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Starbucks, Amazon, Lexus, or something like that, that is (a) widely known and (b) respected, you’ll probably be let down.

I’ve seen a few people develop amazing brands over the last few years, including Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, GE’s Jack Welch, and a few others.  I’ve seen a few people become quite well-branded in their niche/space, which means they aren’t necessarily household names but to their peers and colleagues they are well-known.

Examples include GaryVee (or Gary Vaynerchuk, depending on how you know him), who is popular in the wine space as well as the social marketing space, Chris Brogan who is popular in the social marketing space, David Meerman Scott, who is quote popular in the PR space, and Jason Fried who is the god of design (for geeky designers) and icon to entrepreneurs (he recently started writing a column for Inc. Magazine).

Gary, Chris, David and Jason all have amazing personal brands. You might not have heard of them, but their audience and target audience has. If they haven’t, they can see these people have enormous credibility by just googling them.

Is that what branding is?  Developing credibility?

If I am considering hiring you, I look at certain things to determine whether you are the right person:

  • Interview responses
  • Body language
  • Your resume
  • Your LinkedIn profile
  • etc.

How about other things, like what kind of search results I find when I google your name?  How about the number of followers you have on Twitter, or more important, the quality/content/tone of your tweets, or the engagement level you have on Twitter?

Or the number of comments on your blog, or the communication (and engagement) level on Facebook?

Is that what makes a personal brand?

What do you think – what is a personal brand FOR YOU, what do you strive for, what would you be happy with?


  1. Paul Copcutt - Square Peg on May 10, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Personal branding (like branding) is not what you say it is, its what others say it is.

    Whilst it is a measure of the strength of how your personal brand is being communicated all the followers, friends and comments are useless if you are not delivering on what people perceive is your brand.

    The examples of the people you give are all very good personal brands because what you perceive those brands are when you come in to contact with them they deliver on.

    There are many examples of people with similar size groups of ‘virtual brand evangelists’ who might think they have great personal brands but when its time to deliver they fail – they are shallow, inauthentic or just drunk on too much of their own Gatorade!

    Just my toonies worth

  2. Debra Feldman on May 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I think you mean Tony Hsieh not Shea.

  3. Bernadette Martin on May 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm


    Here is my definition

    My short version: A brand is an intangible image created by a unique bundle of emotional, rational and sensory experiences that could be around a product, place, service or person…. and STORIES.

    My long version: A brand is an intangible image (or perception) created by a unique bundle (or accumulation) of emotional, rational and sensory experiences (touch points) that could be around a product, place, service or person…. and STORIES which have the most impact in creating a brand or this image. Note: all of the above could be negative or positive.

    And “touch points” are endless…from the shoes you wear to your LI profile to your phone message.


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