A cornerstone to crafting your personal brand or leadership brand is identifying the personality traits that drive you and best distinguish you.
It’s all about helping decision makers assessing you determine whether you may be a good fit, as an employee or business partner.
You’ll be judged on the first impression your personal brand message leaves. The words or phrases you use to describe who you are should be precise so that they truly define what differentiates your promise of value from others who do similar work.
Here are some defining adjectives that may fit you, but don’t limit yourself in any way:
Collaborative, flexible, curious, optimistic, forward-focused, risk-taking, generous, international, connected, visionary, diplomatic, intuitive, precise, enterprising, ethical, genuine, accessible
Zeroing in on just a few can be difficult but in doing so, you’ll be forced to dig deep and really think about your unique combination of distinguishing characteristics.
Once you do narrow down your list, decide if you’re actually using the best words possible. Vague or generic words won’t paint an impactful personal brand picture that truly differentiates you.
For instance, you may determine that being “adaptable” is one of your defining attributes. It’s a good enough word but maybe “resilient” would more precisely and compellingly brand you.
Being adaptable means having the ability to adjust to different conditions, while being resilient goes a little further and implies an ability to bounce back or recover from setbacks.
Another example – instead of using the anemic descriptor “resourceful“, consider “enterprising” or “ingenious”.
Finding it difficult to get a handle on this exercise? Here are a few tips that should help:
♦ Try asking those who know you best – at work and in your personal life – for their opinions. Those who regularly see you in action can best measure your brand assets. Notice what they say when they introduce you to someone new.
♦ Sort through whatever feedback you get and see which words always come up.
♦ Just to be sure, go to a good thesaurus and check out synonyms for your list of attributes and see if you can pinpoint even more precise words.
♦ Consider working with a professional to uncover your unique promise of value and marketable personal brand 😉
10 Steps to Uncovering and Building Your Authentic Personal Brand
Meg Guiseppi says
Thanks for commenting, Bob.
Yes, these descriptive words should be used in any of your career marketing communications to precisely express what differentiates you from others doing the same work.
Bob McIntosh says
Are these terms to describe you meant to be used on your resume and cover letter, as well at while networking and at an interview? Some of my customers don’t see the value of mentioning their adaptive skills on their resume.
Meg Guiseppi says
Thanks so much for commenting, Mark. I appreciate your valuable input.
You’re absolutely right. This post is only a starting point and the tip of the iceberg in developing personal branding. Much work needs to be done, but a solid framework must be established first.
I provide more of the whole branding process in my related posts at the end.
Mark Montoya says
The article does a good job of addressing one aspect of the first step of any good branding campaign- [Value] Proposition, which is a part of Specialization.
However it is short on on the flushing out the other aspects of a personal branding campaign that are tied into specialization- which can be summarized by the the 3 P’s approach- after [Value] Proposition, there is Positioning and Personality.
From there one can look at how to Present your brand and where it would be appropriate to do so.
This is a good first step to take note of in the branding process, as without the clarity of what makes you different and unique you are not going to be able to effectively work through the coming steps.