Building a Compelling Personal Brand

Whether you’re the one hiring or being hired, discover what can make a personal brand stand out.

By Lindsey Marlowe

September 3, 2020



Whether you’re building companies or building your résumé, you’re building a reputation. Stopping to evaluate and develop your personal brand can elevate your value as a candidate or as a founder. M13 Partner and Head of Talent Matt Hoffman recently hosted Beth Doane and Rosie Belden to discuss branding from both the candidate and the recruiter’s perspective.

Beth brings her branding perspective as an award-winning author, writer, and contributor for top brands such as Forbes and HuffPost. Named as one of the world’s top branding experts by Inc. Magazine, Beth shares valuable insights on developing a personal brand.

Rosie offers the recruiter perspective as M13’s Director of Talent Acquisition. Rosie has more than six years of executive recruiting leadership experience before joining M13.

Get tips on navigating career pivots, transitioning your personal brand, rebounding from failures, and more.

Plus, learn more about crafting your brand story with Beth Doane’s worksheet for success—in business and life.

Think about what you want your personal brand to reflect.

A first impression is made within seven seconds. It’s critical to consider how you come across to people. Especially during COVID-19, most impressions are occurring digitally.

Your personal brand should focus on who you are uniquely, and what you care about. Telling your story in a positive and effective way is crucial. Consider the things that you’re most passionate about.

Think of yourself as a product. What would make someone want to buy or invest in you? What makes you stand out in a crowd?

Consider how your personal brand can complement a company’s brand.

You should never go into an interview (or even submit a résumé) without being able to speak to why you’re a fit for that organization. Make sure your values are aligned from the very start.

If you’re trying to work for a specific company, you need to understand the company inherently. Look to the personality traits of those working at the company and figure out which parts of your personality fit. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match, but there will be certain things about you that should be perfect for that company.

Everyone wants to get the right job for them, but for long-term success, having cultural and value belief alignment is critical.

Be strategic about your social media presence.

Many recruiters will check candidates’ social feeds. When interviewing, it’s recommended to make Instagram and Facebook private. Twitter can bring a nice mix of personal and professional, while Linkedin should stay more professional.

Be your authentic self and bring that to the table. If you’re applying for a specific company, however, make sure that your visible social channels align with the organization’s values.

Having no trace on the internet is unusual, so if you don’t value social media, you can create something (like a simple website) and keep it neutral. It doesn’t hurt to claim your name on every single platform.

Highlight any fresh perspectives that you can offer.

If a candidate can pull out skills or technical capabilities that connect them to the job they want to do, it really stands out.

Nine times out of 10, a hiring manager will take a chance on someone who’s innovative or different if they can show they have ideas and experiences that apply to the job.

The more diverse and unique the story, the better you can catch someone off guard. It can be gripping to them and make them excited to learn more.

Recruiters can look at hiring for potential and not just exact experience. People who pivot careers can bring a new perspective and think outside the box for a role. Just make sure to show how your past experiences can translate.

Embrace the opportunity to brand yourself as an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs can get away with more online because they’re running the show, and they decide the culture that they want to have. They can take more risks when it comes to your branding.

Iconic entrepreneurs stand-out—they’re not quiet. Think Richard Branson and Elon Musk. They’re tweeting, making waves, writing books. You hear from them.

If you're confident, you will instill confidence in the person you're speaking with most of the time. So just remember that you own your story. Own it, have a clear dialogue in your head, be ready to share on why you left, and make it authentic.

Beth Doane, Co-founder and Mangaging Partner of Main & Rose