The importance of personal branding in your career grows with the need to distinguish yourself and get attention for your goals, job-seeking or otherwise. This is a first look at personal branding and what you need to succeed with it.

Smiling College Porter

What is personal branding?

Quickly think of someone you know. What qualities of theirs come to mind when you think of them? That’s their personal brand.

Most people don’t choose a personal brand. They live their life according to their needs and desires, leaving various impressions to people along the way. Sometimes, the impressions are so different that when those people meet each other, they wonder if they’re even talking about the same person.

The opposite happens with personal branding. When you choose what kind of impression you want to leave on people and continue doing so all the time, there’s no resulting confusion among the people you meet. Strangers who know of you can then recognize you more easily because you’ve given them common impressions.

Download The Ultimate Twitter Job Search Guide

How to make it work

1) Choose the right personal brand for you

For your personal brand to be genuine, it should come to you naturally and without requiring any extra effort on your part. You can portray yourself as the best at what you do, or as someone who brings a lot of value in a certain way, or as someone who can do something amazing. However, unless it’s credible and comes easily to you, your personal brand will just be an act and will eventually be exposed as such in ruining your credibility.

Choose your personal brand so people can consistently feel the same way when they meet you or experience your work. To get started, make a list of your strengths and determine how other people know of those strengths from your past actions and accomplishments. Next, make those strengths even more visible by e.g. blogging or Twittering about your profession in reinforcing your brand to what you’d like it to mean.

2) Reinforce that personal brand all the time

Once you’ve chosen a personal brand, live and perform by that brand. Every action you take and every impact you make should reinforce it. Your brand should be felt every time you communicate, whether face to face in an interview or by reading your resume. The way you act, the way you dress and where you appear in public should all match your brand. The way you act on the Internet, over email, on social networks, etc., and which sites you visit and use should also match your brand.

The more you reinforce your personal brand, the stronger your brand gets by increasing the number of people who have similar feelings about you. As more people become aware of your personal brand and appreciate you, it will be easier for you to reinforce your brand among those people and their peers, continuing the upward spiral.

As you move forward, your first signs of personal branding success will appear when you discover people you’ve never met who already know you and are happy to meet you.


Personal branding shouldn’t be an act. Choose a brand that matches who you are and that will be reinforced by you living your life the way you want to. Then make efforts to push yourself further in reinforcing your brand and growing the positive impact you leave on others around you.

Free Bonus

Learn how to find use Twitter to find jobs quickly in the short-term and to attract jobs in the long-term.

This free download contains sections on:
  • How To Make Every Recruiter Jump To Hire You
  • Which Key Tools Need to Be in Your Twitter Job Search Toolbox?
  • An Easy Checklist to Follow Every Day
Click the image below to get access to The Ultimate Twitter Job Search Guide: The Ultimate Twitter Job Search Guide

JobMob Insiders can get this free bonus and other exclusive content in the JobMob Insider Bonuses area. Join now, it's free!

Personal branding in the blogosphere

For more in depth on personal branding, see the blogs of these personal branding gurus:

Branded yourself yet? Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for the latest concepts that your career might depend on.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Dan Schawbel

    Jacob, thanks for the shout out.

    I wanted to quickly review the first point you made:

    “The importance of personal branding in your career grows as you gain experience, becoming essential to networking.”

    I don’t think the need for personal branding grows as you gain more experience. Instead I think it grows as competition, marketing messages and overall clutter increases. Also, globalization is a factor. Basically the more pressure you have as an individual to stand out amongst everyone else increases the need for personal branding.

  2. Meg Guiseppi

    Jacob, you’ve made some compelling points.

    What good is a personal brand if it’s not really who you are and doesn’t accurately capture what you have to offer? It becomes just so much more noise and fluff.

    As you say, it’s critical to take the time to define your unique value, embrace whatever that is, and stay consistent always. Fact is, we all already have a personal brand or reputation. It’s up to us to shape it into a marketable career brand.

    And I agree with Dan — as competition grows, the need to differentiate (or brand) our potential value grows exponentially.


  3. NG

    I love this blog, but personal branding makes me feel uncomfortable, and if the people around me practiced it, I’d get really creeped out.

  4. Jacob Share

    Dan, Meg- I agree with you two. So what was I thinking when I blogged that line? This: when someone starts their career, by definition their personal brand – with respect to their field of work – is worthless. If it wasn’t, how could we say that they’re just starting out? As they gain experience and grow their network organically (at least), it becomes more important to have a personal brand or else they won’t distinguish themselves among their network peers.

    So, I wasn’t too far from what you’re suggesting but what you’re saying is better because it goes much further. I’ll change it so that my readers get the right impression, which was the whole point of the article. Thanks guys.

    Nathan- thanks for the compliments. It is creepy when someone is ‘on’ all the time and the real person is much different. You’re referring to personal branding abusers, the kind I’m trying here to convince people not to become. The extreme case (of course) are celebrity actors. Look at people like Mark Hamill or William Shatner, how many people have been disappointed to meet them in real life only to discover they’re nothing like Luke Skywalker or Captain Kirk?

  5. Yehuda

    Very interesting. But it seems to me that a distinction that needs to be made, is the online vs real life persona. Online, you can adopt whatever brand you want, and it seems to me more acceptable to be “on” when you’re communicating online, because you’re only there for part of your day. But in real life…I think it’s better to just be yourself! I’m kind of creeped out by people who are always “on”. It’s a tricky balance, I think. But who wants to be with a person who’s all brand, all the time? What I take from Jacob’s blog, is that branding is more about being aware of your strengths and weaknesses in a general sense, and harnessing your strengths to reach your goals.

  6. Jacob Share

    For some people, their personal brand will be something to put “on”. Comedians are often like this. Those people are the ones who have disregarded my advice and chosen a personal brand that only emphasizes a small part of their personality or perhaps nothing at all i.e. it’s completely invented.

    On the other hand, if a person chooses a personal brand that is integrally linked to who they are, there is no “on” and “off”. Whether at work or at play, people will consistently feel the same impressions about that person and the personal brand will be constantly reinforced with very little effort.

  7. Dave Saunders

    Nice and too the point. I especially liked your lead-in to what is personal branding. “What qualities of theirs come to mind when you think of them? That’s their personal brand.”

    While you are not what you do, what you do is still used as an indicator by others. It’s like a shadow you cast. As with any brand, some may like it and others may not so the key is authenticity and consistency.

  8. Jacob Share

    Thanks for coming by, Dave. Many people still don’t realize that ‘you are not what you do’ and it’s a good point.

  9. Martin Buckland

    The key is to consistently reinforce your brand all the time and hold your head high that you are the one rising way above your competition.

    In a job search there is only one trophy!

  10. dizi izle


  11. Pingback: Tom Andrews

  12. Pingback: Personal Branding: Choosing a Name | Net Biz Formulas

  13. Kate

    You know, it’s still more important to focus on being a good person whom people know to be good.

Leave a Reply