A Story About Personal Branding

One of the things we’re told about in personal branding is to be careful about how we’re perceived. But what about the people doing the perceiving?

A friend told a story recently about a woman who had branded herself as a super-duper chemistry expert.

She had a great job in her industry, people came to her with chemistry questions, and there was every indication that she liked being known as “the” chemistry person.

Then my friend asked her what was, to him, a very basic chemistry question—and she couldn’t answer it.

My friend concluded that this woman was therefore a fraud and had created a personal brand that wasn’t tied to reality.


Surely not!

I know that the concept of personal brand is nowhere near a new one, and that it has had its share of disbelief (or disgruntlement) in these latter years. It may be as tired a phrase as “work-life balance.”

But that’s the phrase he used, so that’s what I’m going with now.

For I also thought, “Wait just a minute!”

That woman may have been so deep into her areas of chemistry expertise that the so-called simpler, universal aspects were beneath her radar. She could already get to point B without having to go through A anymore.

For example, I write. I employ all sorts of parts of speech when I write.

Can I always tell you what those parts of speech are? Nope!

If you’d ask me to diagram a sentence to show the parts of speech, I’d probably stare at you dumbly and wish I were elsewhere. I can probably still spot a gerund at 50 paces, but I wouldn’t want to be tested on it.

I remember thinking this in school: I never actually liked having to stop writing and learn all the names of what I was using naturally, the predicate nouns, the objects of the preposition, etc.

It slowed me down. It felt plodding. I only learned it to get the grade. I don’t think, “Now I am using a verb.” I just use it. I can get to my point B just the same.

Yet these are just as much building blocks as that simple, basic chemistry question.


I like these building blocks better.

So, perhaps when we come up against something that doesn’t fit in with our perception of somebody, maybe we should question our own perceptions and assumptions first.

We might find ourselves coming to better—and kinder—conclusions.

Just don’t ask me about subordinating conjunctions.

Writing a Better Resume


Even with all the networking, personal branding and social twittering that keep the internet alive and well, your resume can still be the first impression of you that recruiters and employers have, whether a paper copy lands on their desk or they’re scanning your work history on LinkedIn.

So what’s your resume saying about you?

Our Twitter #careerchat went beyond the basics of resume-writing with career coaches Laura Parrino Byxbe from Right Management (@LauraByxbe), Donna Svei from AvidCareerist.com (@AvidCareerist) and recruiting experts Jenny Mayotte and Jill Kempka from Manpower (@ManpowerProUs and @manpowerus). We discussed traditional and non-traditional approaches (such as the video resumes), how to handle employment gaps, and tips for making yourself stand out from the crowd.

Quick takeaways from the chat:

  • Don’t send a generic resume. Tailor your experience and qualifications to the requirements of each position.
  • Skip the objective: The reader already knows why you’re applying.
  • Include soft skills that make you stand out from your peers, such as the “technician with great people skills.”
  • Remember, the best format is the one preferred by the hiring manager. Make it easy for them to find out who you are and what you provide.
  • Quantify your accomplishments. Use numbers and percentages to help showcase your results.
  • Include links to your website, blog, LinkedIn profile and any other relevant resource in your contact details at the top. Double-check to make sure they work.


Special thanks to our top participants: @kimkabob, @AnneMessenger, @DrWoody, @myFootpath, @AnneMessenger, @Kblennon, @jwarrenny, @Beamena, @ComeRecommended, @navitasHR, @chriskongsvik, @Salestart, @laurenkgray, @inspiredtrain, @kbaumann and @rockthehunt.

Job seeker? Just want to get ahead in your career?

Join our Twitter #careerchat Tuesdays @ 12 PM CT to talk about everything from friending your boss on Facebook to personal branding to how to get a call back from recruiter.

How to join: Go to Tweetchat.com and follow the hashtag “careerchat” at noon CT every Tuesday!

Adapted from my post on MyPath.com.