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Personal Brands Aren’t Just for Marketers – Last in the Series

Tell your story.
Chris Laping
Contributing Writer

This week, I’m wrapping up a 3-part series on your personal brand—why it’s important, and how it’s different than cringeworthy marketing.

In case you missed it, the punchline for part 1 was: your personal brand is what you stand for and what your unique, unduplicated role is in the world. The punchline for part 2 was: the more your coworkers know what you value and stand for, the more your future potential will be understood and rewarded.

But what happens when your personal brand isn’t appreciated, valued, or rewarded in your current job?

If what you value and stand for is incongruent with the business you support, it’s the most important signal you have that you’re in the wrong place!

This is where your focus on personal brand can serve you well. You must get out there and tell your story. I guarantee there’s a hiring manager in an organization who is wanting to hear what you have to say.

“Nothing could be more tragic in your career than staying somewhere you don’t belong.”

The best place to tell your story is LinkedIn. For people who tell me, “I don’t do LinkedIn,” I encourage them to rethink their limiting beliefs. LinkedIn is the #1 professional community in the world. However, if you aren’t tactically experienced with the tool, it may feel like it doesn’t produce results.

The top challenge I see with LinkedIn is generic, “I don’t stand for anything,” messaging. People are always afraid to leave opportunities on the table so they aren’t willing to be specific.

And that’s exactly WHY we’ve been focused on your personal brand. Specificity is the bridge to what you want.

There’s a lot of noise in the world, and you have to create clarity in the sea of sameness. You can optimize your LinkedIn profile and easily be heard by your future employer, if you’re willing to courageously lean into your personal brand.

Here’s a link to my profile. No, mine isn’t perfect nor does it perfectly represent what you need.

After reviewing it, do you clearly know what I stand for? Are you able to see how my experience and education support what I do for a living? Is there evidence through recommendations I do what I say?

Most LinkedIn profiles I see DO NOT answer any of these questions.

An optimized profile uses all elements of LinkedIn to reinforce your story. The banner, your headshot, headlines, recommendations, and the about section all tell your story. They should not tell different stories, and your LinkedIn profile should not using boring, ambiguous corporate speak. Using phrases like digital transformation, cybersecurity, and AI say nothing about you.

For those who might say, “But without those keywords, applicant tracking solutions won’t find me,” I’ve got one response. Yawn.

A strong personal brand with a 365-day focus on building your professional network will never rely on an unknown HR person using some bot to find you.

If you need feedback about your LinkedIn profile, send me a note with a link to your profile. I’m happy to take a quick look and let you know if you’re hot, lukewarm, or cold.

But whatever you do, don’t wait until it’s time to find a new job to prioritize your personal brand. It’s the single most important tool for creating a career & life you love.

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