Founder Resources

Building a Compelling Personal Brand

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 & 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.

Listen to Matt, Beth, and Rosie’s full conversation in the webinar below for a deeper dive into personal branding. The panel discusses career pivots and transitioning your personal brand, speaking about failures, and so much more.

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


On the meanings of ‘personal brand’ and authenticity:

  • 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?
The essence of a brand is who you are, what you stand for, and how you appear to other people. It's also how other people perceive you… What most people don't realize is that within seven seconds, we’ve made up our mind. - Beth Doane

On tying your personal brand with 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.
Every single one of us has a story, and all our stories are unique. They’re all worth telling. It’s just a matter of taking the time and energy to put our story together in a way that’s compelling. - Beth Doane

On having a 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.
On your résumé and LinkedIn, focus on experience versus personality traits, and use industry-recognized terms. This makes it easier for recruiters to find you when they're sourcing. Then use the interview to highlight your authentic, personal brand. - Rosie Belden

On balancing a background of diverse experiences:

  • If a candidate can pull out skills or technical capabilities that connect them to the job they want to do, it really stands out.
  • 9 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.
Look at diversity and unique experiences that you've had in life – that's an asset. It's massive. It's about how you use it. - Rosie Belden

On entrepreneur branding vs. employee branding:

  • 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 own your story, own it, and have a clear dialogue in your head, ready to share on why you left, make it authentic. - Beth Doane

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