Discover Your Brand

4 Thought-Provoking Reasons to Ignite your Personal Brand in 2016

Most people in business know it is important to have a strong personal brand.

But it is rare for people to make a concerted effort to develop one.  Perhaps you’ve thought “No one actually does this”, “Can’t I just let my experiences speak for themselves?”, “Maybe I’ll just give my LinkedIn profile a refresh…”

Creating your personal brand should be a priority for you in 2016. Here are 4 compelling reasons why:

1. Brands are Valuable and Desirable

Think for a moment about your favorite brand.  Apple, Starbucks, and Google are a few of my own, and it is no coincidence that two of these three happen to be #1 and #2 on Interbrand’s Most Valuable Brands 2015 list.

Google consistently tops Fortune’s list of Best Companies to Work For, Starbucks has transformed a cup of coffee into a $4 Starbucks experience with fierce customer loyalty, and Apple is widely expected to become the world’s first $1 trillion company within the next couple years.

Having a strong personal brand will make you more desirable by hiring companies, for both getting the job, as well as likely eliciting a higher salary offer.  Consider development of your personal brand as an investment in your future.

Difference Between a Person and a Personal Brand

2. It Makes Big Decisions Easy

When you have the ability to ask yourself if a decision is “on-brand”, the answer is usually clear.  Whether it be accepting a new job, deciding to volunteer for a new project, or debating what to post online, your decision is either on-brand or it isn’t.

Having this filter through which to make decisions not only helps you decide, but gives you the confidence to know that what you are doing also is helping to build your brand.

3. Take Comfort in Knowing Your Brand can be Constant, but can also Evolve

It is unrealistic to think that you will stay with the same company for the rest of your career.  However, having a brand that continues to grow stronger no matter where you are is incredibly motivating.

It is also reassuring to know that even the most well-established brands evolve.  T-Mobile, for example, has transformed itself in only a few years from the budget carrier to the “uncarrier” – willing to do things like offer blazing fast, contract-less free video streaming in the name of the customer.  You can almost hear the other carriers collectively hold their breath.

Even if you are not certain about your career endgame, your branding today can be flexible enough to pivot into what you’ll become in the future.

Old Spice Rebranding

4. If you do not Brand Yourself, Others will do it for You

For most professionals, the perception others will have of you (your brand) is a result of your career – past jobs and work experience.  This often results in a very linear career path, making it difficult to pivot into a different role/industry you may be more interested in.

Personal Branding Outer Layer

Rather, let your career be a function of your brand.  Doesn’t it make sense that someone management thinks highly of would be high on the list for a promotion?  That someone who has an aura of competence and confidence would be offered that job?  You have the opportunity to brand yourself however you would like, with the always-available option to re-brand yourself in the future.

Personal Branding is one of the keys to unlocking career success.  And taking a focused approach, starting with a well-developed brand strategy, will help you stand out from the crowd.

Visit to see how I took this approach to my own personal brand.


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Young Professionals

7 Steps To Be An All Star Young Professional

Originally Published by John Veltri on Jan 26, 2015 on LinkedIn Pulse

Step 1: Be A Sponge For Information

Learn the business, learn your job, and learn people. The sooner you are able to function independently, influence others, and start creating value for the organization, the sooner you’ll be on your way to that promotion.

Not only will you appear incredibly knowledgeable about the organization, but having the insight to know how what you’re doing will be beneficial to the business will give you a greater sense of purpose and how your job fits into the greater scheme of things.

Step 2: Be Early

This may not seem like a big deal, but I cannot stress enough how important it is. Obviously some companies will be more strict than others when it comes to punctuality, but even at more relaxed companies, people notice when you’re always there before they are.

Your boss will definitely notice, even if you’re there only 5 minutes early. At the very least, don’t be late.

Step 3: Fake It Until You Make It – Sort Of

The notion to “fake it until you make it” is a popular phrase, and a hotly contended subject among the business community. Arguments against it cite reasons such as, “faking anything is dishonest”, “people can sense if you don’t know how to do something”, etc. These points are very valid.


Envision What a Perfect Person in Your Role Would Do…


Rather, I’m suggesting you envision what a perfect person in your role would do, how they would dress, and the way in which they would speak. And be that person – even if you don’t feel perfect. You’ll soon find yourself becoming one. A few examples:

Dress for the Job You Want.

As much as I would love to say this doesn’t matter, it does. A lot. Even if it is perfectly acceptable for your role to dress down, look to what your boss wears. How can you expect people to see you as a manager or more senior level employee if you don’t look like one?

Do Fantastic Work.

Pretend that no one will proofread your work when you are done. Are you proud of it? Are you certain there are no errors? Did you look into things from every angle? What questions would your boss have about it – be prepared with answers.

One of the first steps to establish credibility is to prove competence. And a manager feeling like he/she has to check your work all the time is not a great start.

Step 4: Make Your Manager’s Job Easy

I cannot stress this enough. By relieving the pressure of your boss to manage you, that leaves them time to do the other things they need to do. And better yet, when you perform well, you make your boss look good, and be even happier with your work.

Provide thoughtful recommendations in emails, lay out your own plan for follow-ups – anything you can do to simply get their “check” and move on. It’s tough thinking this way, but it’s great practice, and will help save your manager time and headache.

Just thinking “How can I make my boss’ job easier?” can guide your decisions and make you seem like a rock star in their eyes.

Step 5: Know When to Hold Your Tongue

Of course, sometimes it is great to offer insight and voice your opinion. It can show you’re listening, that you understand the issue at hand, and that you can offer great insight to a group. People like to hear you speak up.

However, be very careful.

Be selective with what insight you offer. Try to think of at least one good piece of input or question per meeting. You’ll soon find that people listen when you speak.

Step 6: Genuinely Care About Your Co-Workers

As you gain experience, don’t be afraid to share some of those secrets you’ve discovered to make your co-workers great too. Sure, everyone wants to be seen as the best, but being a great team member is far more important. Only by being a well-oiled machine can you truly accomplish great things.

On a more personal level, remember things that they tell you. Ask about how their daughter’s piano recital was. Hang out outside of work. By showing interest in them, they will show interest in you, and a job is always more pleasurable when you’re working with friends.

Step 7: Always Be Prepared

Finally, for what you may lack in experience, make up for in preparation. Always come to meetings with an agenda of what you would like discussed, and spend at least 15 minutes prior reviewing notes in your mind for what you would like to talk about.

Take the lead, and be the subject matter expert on your work. If you’re not in a position to take the lead, be prepared with questions.

Nothing on this list should come as a shock, and if you are already doing all these things, congratulations – that promotion is not far off. Keep up the great work!

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