November 2006 “You Get It” Award goes to… Heather Henricks!!!

Heather Henricks - Personal Branding Done Right!This month I got a number of submissions, some of which I’m holding for future months, but I wanted to recognize Heather Henricks’ site this month. It is quite different than the past winners, and I’ve been thinking about those differences for quite a while! But in going over Heather’s site I’m convinced that this is an excellent model for anyone to help them substantiate their personal brand.

It should be noted that this is a site that (a) was not created from a simple template like what a blog platform would offer, and (b) she actually worked with a personal branding company (Brandego) to get this done. More on Brandego later. Let’s check out some of the things I liked (in no particular order):

  • Testimonials from coworkers – hey, why put something like “references available on request” when you can plug in a concise quote from someone that supports how great I am? This is a nice touch, and the formatting is very classy.
  • Choice of verbage increases her value way over what a resume could do – Heather was recruited from PayScale” (sounds prestigous), “recruitment by Microsoft’s MSN Gaming Zone” (not only an awesome company but an awesome division!), “the keen ability to translate consumer research in a way that resonates with internal stakeholders” (so she’ll care about me, as an internal stakeholder, if I hire her) – this isn’t stuff that doesn’t belong in a resume, but there is so much, and it flows so well, that it is… different.
  • Pictures bring her down to earth and share her personality – her with dog, her with bike, by the lake, etc. This is a cool, relaxed, adventurous person, and I can tell she has work-life balance (whatever that means :))
  • colors are warm and inviting, relaxing – coming from a guy that doesn’t know much about colors, that’s all the color-analysis you’ll get from me 🙂
  • navigation is very simple to follow – if I’m the hiring manager I see exactly what I want to see – about, strengths, career highlights (that doesn’t fit on a blog like it does here)… you can see this in the little image on the top right of this post.
  • Outside stuff, like the quote on the Volunteer page isn’t specifically about her, but it resonates the altruistic nature of volunteering – and you can see that she is involved in various organizations. It is nice to have quotes be about a purpose and not all about how great she is.
  • Testimonial and images right in her resume – that’s cool and only looks good on the web (wouldn’t look good on paper).

I would really really like to see her blogging, but since she doesn’t have one I’m assuming that perhaps she is just too busy (hm.. so does this mean I’m not too busy 😉). A blog can really help her community and readers understand her breadth and depth, where her mind is at, etc. At the same time, she never has to worry about “open-mouth-insert-foot” like the rest of us bloggers. But she seems so cool that I could see her blogging and sharing more of her personal and professional life like Heather Hamilton over at Microsoft.

Overall, what I see here is a professional site representing a professional person. No comment on whether she is employed or not (I’m guessing she has a job, and is a very active networker), so I’d say that this is an excellent example of creating a personal brand when she doesn’t necessarily need it.

Way to go Heather! You get the cyber-high-five as well as 6 months (that is up from 3 months) of free Premium features in JibberJobber! … and don’t forget that you are linked over on the left, under the “You Get It!” category 🙂 🙂

50 thoughts on “November 2006 “You Get It” Award goes to… Heather Henricks!!!”

  1. Thanks, Jason! Congratulations, Heather!

    Heather IS happily employed (her site reflects her current role because she’s been great about keeping it updated). I’m delighted to report that she’s been actively recruited/promoted from one great job to the next as a direct result of her Web portfolio. Heather is a terrific example of someone who gets that she needs to manage her personal brand and proactively market herself – all the time – to be in the driver’s seat of her own career.

  2. Kirsten, Brandego did a wonderful job of creating a professional portfolio for Heathr. I do have a question though – “Would you advise your clients (and by extension all job seekers) to perhaps leave out memberships and affilaition to organizations that may be considered contoversial?”

    I notice that Heather supports PETA, which some hiring officials and companies may find objectionable. If it were my portfolio, I’d leave that off, unless I were unwilling to work for companies that didn’t support PETA. I think it would be an interesting topic to discuss here.

    JMO, your mileage may vary. – Carl

    Restaurant Recruiter | Restaurant Jobs | Restaurant Recruiters >> Blog

  3. Kirsten – thanks for clarifying that – I knew a little bit but hadn’t asked Heather if I could include it in this post. I think its critical information though and am glad you includeded it. Here’s why: IT WORKS! You say “from one great job to the next” … I never thought of this in my own career management (what career management??), and am really glad to have come across Heather’s example and very pleased to know that it has gotten results!

    Carl – … excellent question. Very interesting – I’m curious to see what Kirsten or others think as we all have things that *we think* should (or should not) go on a resume. Could it be that one dynamic is location, and in Washington it is much more common/accepted than in, say, Maryland? Not to stereotype but I’m guessing it could be a factor. Obviously, another factor could be that she is completely impassioned about PETA and wouldn’t want to work somewhere that doesn’t respect that.

  4. Thanks for the kudos and excellent question, Carl. Generally, career experts would agree that controversial organizations should be left off of career marketing communications (like a resume). For Heather, we very recently added the Volunteer page content because it supports her long-term career goals – even though she is not in an active search.

    Personal branding is not about pleasing everyone. As my colleague and co-author, William Arruda, always says, “All strong brands take a stand.” Heather’s support of PETA will attract like-minded people and repel others. Also, (IMO) it’s not a matter of whether prospective companies need to support PETA, but rather that they not eliminate her from consideration just because she has. I certainly wouldn’t want to work for a company that had a problem with me making a financial contribution to an organization that I supported. In fact, that would be good information to find out before I had accepted a job offer. By revealing more of who you really are up front, it will help to weed out no win-situations and gain the opportunities that will be the most rewarding.

    In a nutshell, my answer is that this is a personal judgment call that a candidate can make after considering all the potential professional ramifications.

  5. Kirsten, thanks for the answer. I understand that ‘branding’ especially ‘personal branding’ is about letting people know who you are. I wouldn’t have a problem with anyone showing that they volunteer for organizations that are well respected… and for the most part, I wouldn’t counsel against showing groups that you support *** except when it comes to controversial ones ***

    As you know, there are folks that consider PETA a terrorist organization. Whether or not you do or don’t, my advice would be to leave that off the resume, unless you would only work at a place where they embrace that organization. There are quite a few other organizations that people should probably leave off, and the cover the political spectrum from far left to far right. My advice would be, “if it doesn’t help you get the job and could hurt, leave it out.”

  6. Love that this is a thought-provoking topic. 🙂 It’s Heather’s site, and she is the ultimate owner of the content. I don’t want to speak for her, so perhaps she’ll chime in with her view. I’m wary of blanket advice that applies to all job seekers as it relates to this topic. The key to all content – whether on a resume, portfolio or a blog – is relevance to your target audience and your individual goals.

  7. This is very thought-provoking, and it is interesting to see leading thinkers from recruiting and personal branding discuss this. I am formulating a new blog post just to discuss this in the near future (I’m wierd that way). I don’t think I ever thought about the idea of personal branding and career management being at odds with one another (understanding Kirsten’s arguments, and my thoughts above about her values aligning with future employers). Great dialogue so far. Anyone else want to weigh in?

  8. I really enjoy the picture Heather has on her contact page. To me she is thinking, “Wow, can you believe how many comments I’ve received about my website on Jibber Jobber?”

    But Jason, your comment regarding her association with PETA is curious because of the simple notion about “fit.” Associations give details to one’s personal passions and passions are very strong indicators of “fit.” Think about the many types of cultures that leaders develop based upon who they are: the fish leads from the head. As a result, the organization over time defines itself by the types of people it hires – some will fit, others will not.

    Rather than force a square peg into a round hole, be sure you’re recruiting reasonably round pegs: knowing one’s personal brand ahead of time can help a company stay on track. Then there is the other side: recruiting square pegs knowing that the shape of the holes must change to enter new markets, develop new products or services, or just simply to shake things up is also a viable strategy. Again, knowing someone’s personal brand can help focus the recruiting and on-boarding processes on making the appropriate changes.

    For most, career management and personal brand are at odds: some believe that the job comes before individuality (for perhaps financial reasons). But when they are at odds, discord is almost always a by-product.

    Defining and sticking with one’s personal brands takes guts, commitment, and fortitude. I wish more people did what Heather is doing.

    Heather, expect many calls…

  9. Great discussion point – PETA. In my opinion, if Heather feels strongly about her support for PETA (strongly enough to turn off people who may not support the same cause) then she should include it. Personal branding is not about pleasing everyone. It’s about taking a stand knowing that some people may not agree with you. Look at every strong personal brand in the world (Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Madonna) and you will see that they often repel as many people as they attract. Great job Heather. Great stuff Brandego.

  10. wow — love this convo, folks — so many interesting points of view and great commentary. in regards to listing PETA on my volunteer page, I wrestled with that one but ultimately, it came down to one question ‘how would my industry see this?’. working in a progressive and generally pop culture infused industry like the consumer technology space (not to mention IT education for kids and teens) being a little ‘edgy’ can score you some serious points — employers in this space are looking for candidates who demonstrate independant thought, creativity, and a little ‘fire in the belly’ attitude. Now, if I was looking to get a job in government, law, or pharma (god forbid) it would not be wise to include my association and support of PETA (or any other seemingly fringe organization).

    i think steve and kirsten allude to this but having those references on my site also act as filters. I feel passionately about animal rights and it would be impossible to work for an organization that wouldn’t allow me the freedom to support those efforts. I just need an organization that either (1) could care less or (2) also supports the issues I care about.

    And with that, a radical change in topic. The we portfolio really has been the single most valuable tool in helping me land great jobs with progressive companies in fun industries. And I consider it one of the highest compliments to be nominated for this months ‘You Get It’ award. Thanks to Kirsten and Brandego for their great work and continued support and to Jason and the jibberjobber crew for nominating me!

  11. sorry — one other thing I wanted to mention. before the volunteer page was live, i had referenced the fact that I sat on the board of the northwest animal rights network. twice this came up in interviews — and twice positively. you’ll find that there are MANY animal lovers out there (ever notice how many interviewers have pictures of their dogs on their desk?) and it really can be a great way to quickly find a personal link to an interviewer and connect. just food for thought. 🙂 heather

  12. Ju-Ju, Tiger, Mr. Stinky and Chit-Chat (my four cats – only Stinky is a boy) agree…

    One way to identify like-minded organizations is to look for investment funds who cater to similar causes. For instance, have fun playing around the Social Investment Forum (

  13. We can tell by Kristen’s comment (first one) that Heather is in the driver’s seat of her career. That clearly defines the kind of things she will have affecting her search. Her presentation */must/* reflect that. If she were a take-charge go-getter in real-life, but her resume/portfolio/website was bland and read like the instructions to a Waffle Maker, there would be an incongruence there, and it would actually impede her chances of being hired (nobody likes surprises…)

    As a side note, having a social affiliation on a website versus a resume are two separate things. I agree that you should make employers aware of strong social affiliations anyway, but the question is timing… when do you tell (or, do you not “tell”, but just visit the company enough to know if you will fit in or not).

    Websites have the capacity to be more informal, more fluid, more personal. A website about you is an invitation–like the picture suggests–to get to know this person as an individual, not just a resume or an attachment. It doesn’t make sense to judge a person’s website by the same can/can-nots that resumes are judged by.

  14. Oh, one more thing. Speaking of things on a website that are taboo on resumes, having a photograph on a resume is WAY more of a concern to me than PETA affiliation. Once I am shown a photo on your resume, I better not discriminate…

  15. Heather, great to see you in the coversation. Also, I loved your web profile. Brandego did a very good job, but I highly suspect that the subject matter made their task easier. Jason really did pick a great winner!

    I applaud your passion, but I’m not sure that I can see how a company “wouldn’t allow me the freedom to support those efforts.” Doing that on your personal time is your business. On company time, it’s their business… Just some more of my thoughts…

    Restaurant Recruiter | Restaurant Jobs | Restaurant Recruiters >> Blog

  16. Jason, you picked another great winner… no question that she “gets it”. Congratulations Heather!

    A thought on all of the PETA discussion – we all know that it’s not possible to please everyone all the time, so why try? I’ve started to realize that as I’ve worked on my own personal branding – I recently had a comment on my blog that I should stick to security and not talk about all this career/life/marketing “life management crap”.

    Unfortunately, that’s not where I want my branding to be, and I’m sticking with the positioning that I’m intending for myself, even though I know it’s not going to make everyone happy.

    Besides, if a company was going to not hire Heather because of her beliefs in PETA, is it really someplace that she’d care to work? I’ve worked at places where I had to be less than all of who I am, and it’s really not worth it…

  17. Personal branding is all about authenticity…so in that respect, if Heather is involved in PETA and is passionate about animal rights, she can certainly choose to represent that passion on her web portfolio.

    Personal branding is all about attracting (and repelling)…so in that respect Heather is right to include PETA, if (big if) she wants to attract companies that find that a positive (or neutral) aspect of her brand. If she wants to deselect companies that find her involvement problematic, that works, too.

    Personal branding is all about courage…it takes courage to be real, to put yourself out there and know absolutely, that some companies / people will find your stance at best, problematic, and at worst, offensive.

    Personal branding is all about respect…and Heather has that…from herself and from people who “get” what she’s doing. And, hey…aren’t those the people with whom she’d like to associate or work?

    So, unless Heather’s desperate for a paycheck and will take work anywhere (doesn’t seem to be the case!), her strategy works as a great filter. She’ll attract the kind of companies that will allow her to be herself…companies that want her for who she is.

    BTW, let’s not confuse branding with a value proposition. The value proposition is what Heather does to impact the successful operation of the company – in tangible, dollarized terms. It’s the “glamour shot” that captures immediate interest.

    But Heather’s brand is the thing that differentiates her from others who have similar value propositions. Her value proposition can get her on the short list; her brand is the “intangible chemistry thing” that can seal the deal.

  18. Regarding membership in controversial affiliations or organizations: I agree with others who have posted here that those SHOULD be included on your branded site. Those memberships are part of who you are and to omit those is to in effect apologize for who you are. And if you’re apologizing for who you are, you may not be comfortable with your brand. So, like the others, I agree that if you believe strongly in those causes and organizations, put them out there. Too many folks are worried about being too PC these days. If you’re PC, you end up getting lost in the crowd. I’m not saying to be offensive or obnoxious on how you promote your beliefs, but do have the courage to stand up for your beliefs. Don’t be ashamed of them, as they are part of who you are at your core and part of what makes you unique.

  19. Oh, also it was nice to see Heather’s web site profiled a week ago in an Oklahoma newspaper and an OK TV station. Here’s the link to the partial article: and

    Heather’s web site was included as a sidebar in the print version of the story links above. I have requested a full copy of the article from the reporter–which included a complete analysis of Heather’s site — and will post a scanned copy of it as soon as I receive it.

  20. This all comes back around to the idea that Seth Godin had recently about mediocrity causing significantly more pain than being different.

    Truly, while the people who don’t get hired because their brand includes controversy will be many and will be talked about, there’s an overwhelmingly silent majority who won’t get hired for lack of having any brand at all. It’s that silent majority who I feel for the most (and avoid hiring the most vehemently).

    I’ll take “who I am and slightly controversial” over “completely boring and without any identifying markings” any day, whether I’m hiring an employee, choosing a friend, or simply being myself.

  21. In the end, there are several “career sins”; for me, the ultimate one is letting a company manage your career. Here’s a take-it-to-the-bank fact: Not a single company does a great job of managing a person’s career (OD folks – and I’ve led OD – be damned).

    The best a company can do is create a structure that enables employees with desires and passions to seek out internal opportunities that help to develop or satisfy these desires and passions. What would be unique would be for a company to create a new position of Personal Branding Officer whose mission would be to develop individual brands for all employees. Tie this into succession planning and we have a process that is mutually driven by employees and OD.

    Imagine the wonderful internal communities this would create! The camaraderie! New ideas! And yes, I’m aware of all the issues this would create but I’d rather facilitate the inter and intra-community communication than not have all the energy.

    Leadership isn’t easy.

  22. Steve, I love that idea. In my personal branding work I’ve seen the effects of the branding process–and it’s amazing! The mental and emotional work of discovering, defining, and refining one’s brand is tough. Really tough. Grueling, even. But wow, is it fun and rewarding!

    Bottom line is that I’ve never had a client who hasn’t become far more confident, courageous, creative, and energized by the knowledge of what makes him or her unique (and my clients are mostly very senior execs — you’d think they’d already be that way!).

    I know the word “empowered” has been overused, but it’s the word that fits the result of the process. Think what an entire organization of empowered employees — employees who are clear on their differentiation, career path, and value to the organization — could do! The possibilities are breathtaking.

    The thing personal brand proponents have to do is dollarize the impact of branding upon individual performance, collective performance, and corporate positioning. If that could be done via some kind of metrics we might find more companies embracing the idea.

    But when one thinks of how marketing (any kind — B2B & B2C; tangibles & intangibles) is typically struggling for funding and respect with in organizations (sales typically gets the glory, right?), then we can correlate that personal branding is likely not hitting the radar screen of CEOs anytime soon. But I hope I’m wrong!

  23. @steve: The thesis (in my opinion) of The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida (hear him talk about it on IT Conversations) is that our generation is in the middle of the shift from companies wielding control over lives and destinies and incomes… to people retaining and building their personal equities and control for their career.

    I believe that the nimble companies of the future will look more like tightly integrated project teams focused intensely around a given objective, acquiring the contracts needed to execute on those needs, fluidly moving independent resources to where they provide the most value-add, not where they align with a corporate org-chart.

    I think “companies” per-se, will actually be made up of many, even hundreds of smaller companies… some of them only one individual in size… and each one given very specialized tasks to perform across the whole…. like organs in the human body… all independent and specialized, yet all dependent and part of the greater whole.

    I think the “rewire not retire” generation is going to fuel this as well. Deeply skilled individuals who’ve braided the ropes I’m still trying to “get to know”. They’re not going to blindly align with just any company and sign their life away. They will be more like hummingbirds, delicately and masterfully executing business deals and opportunities, but never getting “too attached”.

    The next 20 years are bringing intense change. Websites and blogs and today’s social networks and personal branding are the frost on the top of the tip of the iceberg.

    Please buckle your safety belts.

  24. Great idea, Steve…and the good news is that some companies are catching on, albeit slowly. One of my clients over this past summer completely restructured their HR department after seeing the bottom line results the company got just from branding their CEO. The CEO thought personal branding was a bunch of hooey, so I positioned our services as “executive performance coaching.” (It was still personal branding, I just called it something different to overcome his bias.) When he started getting better responses from his employees and more recognition not only in the local community but also nationwide in his industry–AND saw an increase in orders directly trackable to the branding and publicity–he then saw the light and wanted to apply this “performance coaching” to everyone. When I finally convinced him that it was nothing but personal branding, then he just sort of laughed and said, “Well, I guess you branded the program well to me by calling it something I could buy into initially.” (That did get me thinking about the possible semantic barriers created by the term “personal branding.” Has anyone else encountered a negative bias from the term? I thought it odd that once I called it “performance coaching” the CEO was hot to get on the program, but he thought “personal branding” was just fluff.)

    The company has since changed the “VP of HR” title to CTO — Chief Talent Officer — and made that person’s #1 mission to develop a program to identify and promote the personal brands of middle – and -upper managers and then work to publicize those brands internally and externally. We licensed our program to them for this purpose and the goal is once the middle-and-upper managers are branded, the program will be taken company wide. And this is from a company that you wouldn’t expect such progressive thinking from: a large manufacturing company in the very conservative Midwest (Chicago). But again, it did take over a year of baby steps with this company for them to “get it.”

  25. I love the dialog.

    Vicki – “Too many folks are worried about being too PC these days. If you’re PC, you end up getting lost in the crowd. I’m not saying to be offensive or obnoxious on how you promote your beliefs, but do have the courage to stand up for your beliefs. Don’t be ashamed of them, as they are part of who you are at your core and part of what makes you unique. ”

    There are many people who know me and all of them would fall down laughing on the floor if someone accused me of being ‘politically correct.’ In today’s culture, standing up and saying that you are supporting PETA is much more a “PC” thing than saying your are not a fan.

    Here, I haven’t done either. I simply said that my personal belief is that controversy should be left out of the ‘personal brand statement’ unless the candidate/person/object of branding would not possibly work for a company that didn’t support and wasn’t aligned with their views on that issue (or other issues that were if import.)

    It would appear that many folks have misread or perhaps misinterpreted my statement as trying to ‘bland’ one’s self, or appear mediocre because you don’t ‘put yourself out there on the edge.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m just wondering if anyone actually gives thought to whether or not your work as a network administrator, a marketing researcher, or a widget designer for Acme corporation will really be effected if you keep you PETA membership and support to yourself?

    Do you run into the office and tell people of your religious affiliations? Do you think to yourself that you could never work for some company that didn’t share your belief in a supreme being? Does it have to be the same exact supreme being that you believe in? Where do you draw the line?

    My suggestion is (and was) that you focus on the things that are work related, and work environment related in your building of a personal brand. When you get to personal stuff avoid controversy. If it can hurt you, then it probably isn’t good (exceptions noted earlier.)

    I’ve worked for companies that had owners who were of different faiths than I. I’ve worked for companies that didn’t support the same organizations as I. I’ve worked for companies whose ownership voted a different party ticket than I. I’ve worked for companies where the sexual orientation of individuals was quite different than the average population. I enjoyed working for all of them. My advice would be, pick your battles carefully. Just because a company doesn’t look at God, animals, guns, or sex the same way as you, doesn’t necessarily make them bad employers. And just because you don’t scream from the rooftops that you are a ____________ or a _________ supporter (you fill in the blank) doesn’t make you a sell out nor does it make you boring or mediocre. What it can mean is that you are a (net) savvy job seeker who works well with others.

    Restaurant Recruiter | Restaurant Jobs | Restaurant Recruiters >> Blog

  26. “Do you run into the office and tell people of your religious affiliations? Do you think to yourself that you could never work for some company that didn’t share your belief in a supreme being? Does it have to be the same exact supreme being that you believe in? Where do you draw the line?”

    Restaurant Recruiter: Good points! And, absolutely not — you shouldn’t FORCE your opinions and ideas on people nor should you tell your entire life’s story and all your dirty little secrets. But I don’t think letting people know your values is a problem, either so long as you do it in a professional, diplomatic way. And it would be a pretty boring world if we all worked and lived with people who think and act exactly as we do. But, as one person already pointed out on this message thread, the power of repulsion is not a bad thing and is in fact necessary to advance your career.

    To promote your values isn’t to say that you would never work for someone of a different belief system: it is simply letting people know what’s important to you. And we’re not saying to put every little personal detail about your life on your branded site. (Too much information!) But do pick and choose what you feel best represents you as a whole, authentic person.

    A few years back the American Management Association did a survey where they asked hiring managers what they valued most in a candidate. The #1 response was “passion and enthusiasm.” You can show such enthusiasm through the volunteer work you do, the causes you support and your activities. A second quality desired was “well-rounded;” in other words, they want workers who have a life outside of work and they may want to know what that life is to see if you are a “good fit” for the rest of the work force.

    Having said all of that, I think this entire discussion has been a great example of the real draw of personal branding: you do it to your own comfort level. There is no one “right” way to do it; you put on your branded site what you are comfortable with and what you think best represents the unique and authentic image you want to project to the rest of the world. For some people that may mean highlighting your work on a particular political or social campaign; for someone else it may mean simply stating something about your hobbies. What you choose to put on your branded site in itself speaks volumes about what you want your brand to be. Branding can’t be “mass produced;” even in companies that license a program and want to implement the personal branding concept company-wide, it is not a “cookie cutter” program or approach. Each person is unique and therefore each brand must be vastly different from the next.

  27. “What it can mean is that you are a (net) savvy job seeker who works well with others.”

    Ooh, I like that! I should use that somewhere! 😉

    (And when you get hired, you can be a Net-Savvy Executive! Yeah, that’s the ticket!)

    Sorry, it’s been a busy week, and I need to make a birthday cake now. Carry on…

  28. What an interesting conversation.

    I believe our job as career coaches is to advise our clients of potential pitfalls and then honor their decisions in building their “authentic” brands. I doubt Heather would find any kind of career satisfaction working at a company that did not respect her love of animals. If her branding is working – it will repel those people/companies and attract exactly the right people/companies that are compatible with her values.

    Another excellent web portfolio from Brandego!

  29. Everyone – what amazing conversation. I never thought that a “winner” post would create such a dialogue. I really appreciate the thoughts and expertise. I find so many pearls throughout this thread I think I can blog on it for a year!

    For all the times that I’ve wanted to throw my 2 cents in I’ve felt that it would be better for me to just start a new post (or a few posts)… which I’ll do over the next month or two.

    Thanks to everyone for making this a rich discussion, very valuable to my visitors, and after all is said and done: CONGRATS TO HEATHER!

  30. This is a fantastic thread. My personal feeling is that you should leave such affiliations off of a resume – not because they’re bad or have the potential to offend people, but more because they’re simply not relevant. A resume is a page, two at most, and in that space you need to focus on why you’re the best candidate for that job. I agree with others who say that an online portfolio is a better vehicle for branding yourself and showcasing “the whole you.” That said, though, I wouldn’t go overboard putting forth the most accurate portrayal of your life, deeply personal information and all. The brand you establish for your online porfolio should be a professional one that you’d feel confident having anyone in your work life come across.

  31. I had a very nice (albeit short) chat with Vicki were we talked about the Chief Talent Officer, the hardships of breaking the mold in the midwest (Vicki might expand on this), working in the outplacement industry (don’t get me started), and a variety of books that we’ve both read that have influenced our thinking on work and the individual. In short, Vicki’s quite diverse and knowledgeable about this stuff.

    But as I started thinking about why personal branding is so important (if you don’t believe it, read Aldous Huxley’s “A Brave New World”), I remembered another book that when I read it back in 2001, it really helped me crystallize my thoughts about work – particularly after 9/11. So if you get a chance, pick up a copy of “Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs”, edited by Bowe, Bowe and Streeter.

    Fit may be nothing more than an easy way out…

  32. Awe, shucks, Steve…you’re making me blush 🙂

    RE Steve’s comment about breaking the mold in the Midwest:

    Yep, I have found that my clients in the east, west and even the SOUTH tend to be, on the whole, more open to the idea of personal branding as a business and/or career advancement vehicle than my Chicago and St. Louis clients. Of course this is a generalization and not all Midwest professionals are slow to adopt new ideas.

    I suppose we Midwesterners are just a bit suspicious of anything new and have a “show me first” approach. The unfortunate aspect of that is that sometimes by the time we “catch on” the “new idea” is either out of date or so overused it is no longer effective. I also find that my most of my Midwest personal branding clients tend to be much more conservative in their branding approach; they will start with baby steps and as time goes on add more and more of their personality to their presentations, their web sites and their overall packaging, while clients in other parts of the country jump in with both feet. But that’s OK, because this “conservative approach” is part of their brand and since it’s part and parcel of who they are, that’s how their brand needs to be portrayed.

    Having said that, I suppose it is just like folks in any part of the country: there are people who “get it” and people who don’t get it. When I hold open corporate retreats in Chicago where professionals from several companies are invited, the room fills up and people are eager to get on board. Yet often when I chat one-on-one with execs, they balk at the idea or think it is fluff. So, I suppose it’s a matter of attracting the right clients no matter where you are.

    And thanks, Steve, for the book recommendations!

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  34. So my own comment will fall into the “me too” category, but…

    1) Yes, true personal commitments and passions should be highlighted. If it means something to you, don’t leave it out. Talking about “religious affiliations” misses the point that people have interests… and then, they have INTERESTS. I doubt a real Evangelical Christian would feel as comfortable with an atheistic organization as, say, a casual church-goer would feel. Likewise, a true Animal Rights advocate would find it meaningful to designate their association, rather than someone whom “likes animals”. In sum: it’s a PERSONAL brand, not a mass-market brand!

    2) I have been so inspired by this series that I am going to go ahead and remodel my own personal website into a “personal brand” website… 😀

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