Personal Branding - Beyond Your Resume


Personal branding female power brands I recently found an article that someone sent me back in 1997. I don't know who gave it to me but I saved the article because while the concept was strange to me the idea intrigued me. It was Tom Peters' - the brand called you. As the fates would have ..soon after reading it I was down-sized from my job with the Georgia Lottery Company. Thoughts that a company would want to hire "more than a resume" were radical 12 years ago.

  • Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? That is a picture of a person I don't know. What does he want from me? What should I try to be? So many faces all around, and here we go. I need this job, oh God, I need this show. I CAN DO THAT - A Chorus Line - I Hope I Get It

Girlfriend, there was more - Peters said we should manage our personal brand. What did that mean? I should be wearing Jimmy Choos instead of Gucci or investing in a Mont Blanc instead of Bic pens? Did that extend to non business aspect of my life too?  In one of my first resumes I included creative cooking. I was told it wasn't "professional" and took it out.  Should I add it back it .. was that part of my brand called me?

But as confusing as it was to figure out how to navigate this new way of presenting myself in 1997, it no way reaches the complexities that the Internet and social media have in impacting the brand called you. A few weeks ago I was talking with my favorite niece about the photos on her Facebook page. Last year Jessica Robyn went from college student to career girl. She's more aware of her online presence, especially after the Facebook debacle of content ownership, these days. 

Jessica might error on the more liberal side but what about the people in the Boomer generation who are being "down sized" or thought they were retired and now must enter the job market again? They are learning that their resumes must extend beyond paper (or digital) to LinkedIn, sometimes Facebook and if they are adventurous to Twitter. Finding the right balance is a new tight-rope act for many.

 With Diva Marketing I guess I'm getting it right because someone who does understand personal branding, Dan Schawbel, publisher of Personal Branding Magazine, highlighted me in his May issue - titled Female Power Brands. Thanks to Dan and Justin Levy for the interview.

  • "In this issue, we’ve interviewed some of the brightest and most talented female brands on the planet .."

I am honored to join divas Sarah Austin, Natalie Gulbis, Laura Ries Valeria Maltoni and Anita Campbell who were also profiled in this edition. In addition, there are articles written by fabulous women: Ann Smarty, Christine B. Whittemore, Cece Salomon-Lee, Nisha Chittal, Judy Martin, Thursday Bram, Maria Reyes-McDavis, Becky Carroll, Pamela Slim, Camille Watson, Natalie MacNeil, and Angela Natividad.

For your reading pleasure .. one of the the answers from my Female Power Brands interview. Sort of like saying that .. Female Power Brands.  (I'm thinking of turning the pink boa into a super diva cape! What do you think Connie Reece and Mutha Mae?)

Personal Branding: What role do you think online personal branding will play in getting hired over the next few years?

Toby/Diva Marketing: Looking at how a personal brand fits  into an organization's brand, I can't help think of enterprises that have opened social media to their employees. Those companies seem to have a strong sense of "self" e.g., their corporate brand and are secure enough to let their employees' brands complement the enterprise brand.

Personal branding done well extends business into more of a "personal" world. It's a way of taking what is on the inside and courageously letting people see it on the outside. Perhaps (some) women struggle with not being perfect 24-7 especially in the world of business. However, on the flip side it's a way of connecting with people and women do that so well.

As we speak Human Resources is online searching for information about their latest candidates. The perception that someone takes away after reading your posts or tweets or LinkedIn profile is an additional element that will be incorporated into a hiring decision. Ready or not .. you inevitably are creating a personal brand. Why not step back and be a little more strategic? ###

The Internet and social media have changed the personal brand game. We no longer have the luxury of only building our image, which does impact our credibility, based on a choice between designer shoes or flip flops. How do you maintain your authentic self online when Google has become HR's best friend?

What does personal branding in the 21st century mean when the whole world knows not only your name but your favorite toys, games, wine, beer, friends, dating status, doctors and opinions on life in general? Maybe when Dan and Jessica are in charge of running corporations it won't matter much but in 2009 it's a factor.


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Toby, I love your knack for putting things into perspective with Tom Peters and your own story and into context with your niece. And then broadening jit all by tossing the boa/cape to Connie and Mutha. Mistressly done!

Posted by: C.B. Whittemore on May 5, 2009 7:57:34 PM

thanks for your kind words C.B. .. if you can't have a bit of fun with social media - why bother :-) Be sure to catch the pink boa cape too for you are surely a diva!

Posted by: Toby on May 5, 2009 8:00:54 PM

Excellent post Toby, and more relevant today than ever. I am reminded of that every time I Tweet, post a blog, or update LinkedIn. Who's going to care about my resume, when my authentic self is all over the web? Scary stuff.

Posted by: Lewis Green on May 6, 2009 11:16:14 AM

@lewis - it is a new complicated world that crosses generations.
Tho I often wonder what the work place expectations will be like when the kids who grew up on Facebook now are in charge of hiring. Will it matter to them that there are photos of drinking parties, tattoos and scantily dressed people?

Posted by: Toby on May 6, 2009 2:39:25 PM

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