Definition: Personal Brand

There is a lot of discussion on the Internet about personal branding – but sadly, a lot of that discussion is coming straight from people who have not one clue about creating a true personal brand.

Instead, these folks are busily copying the personal brands of other self-appointed Internet brand gurus. Which is fine, as long as they don’t fool anyone else into trying to copying this much replicated personal brand and passing it off as his personal brand.

The important point to remember about a personal brand is that it is just that: your personal brand.

That means that it needs to reflect facets of your personality, your personal traits, and your personal strengths.

The days of modeling yourself after other people in order to land a position that nine zillion people are trying to win are over. In fact, they’ve been over for some time, but it’s really never too late to catch up. Today, the way to get the life that you want is to pull the focus over to you – to show the world that you, in fact, have strengths so remarkable that not only are you the top candidate for the position, there’s also no one who even should be considered.

When you’re as good as you are, there’s really no reason to brandy semantics.

I always believe that the best way to develop your personal brand is to take a cue from Queen Victoria – the English one. She always spoke of herself in the third person, and, for a while, it might be a good idea for you to do the same. (At least in front of a mirror. In the real world people may find it either creepy or silly.)

By looking at yourself from the outside, you may be more able to determine your strengths – and your weaknesses. And only after you really see yourself – get that, see yourself – can you develop a brand that really speaks to what makes you the best: the best candidate, the best date, the best choice – period.

A personal band is no different from a corporate brand. Does Coca-Cola show ads that describe its product as a confusing chemical soup that makes people fat if drunk in large quantities? No. Coca-Cola describes itself as a fun product that is best enjoyed among friends and is tasty and refreshing, either on its own or with various food products.

Pick your best features–-making sure they’re YOUR features and not just something you’ve decided to clone–and make them the most important part of your resume. Look at the Internet and focus on some of the characteristics that employers are asking for. How can you work those traits into your personal brand?

If the employer is seeking out a “go-getter,” you need to think about those times that you went above and beyond the call of duty to get a task completed. Write up the task in detail, and then add your “extras” to the explanation. If your prospective employer wants an “outside-the-box” thinker, you should call to mind the times that you used an unusual tactic to do a job. Write it up, using lots of accurate and unusual adjectives to depict your outstanding abilities.

And remember, when writing your resume, refer to the old military adage: Don’t ask, don’t tell.” If you’ve had a massive failure, don’t include it in your personal brand. If someone asks the question, be prepared to answer it honestly and with no excuses – while maintaining, to the best of your ability, a positive spin on your brand.


  1. Shane Gibson on October 18, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Dave, it truly is sad to see people “cutting and pasting” other people’s lives and calling it “branding.” Good post. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  2. Adeline "Pinky" Richter on October 27, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    There is only one of me! So, cutting and pasting from other people’s lives never entered my mind. I was perplexed when I read the above post. A friend shared you with me and I appreciate your input and direction. Thanks!

Leave a Comment