List of 4 Top Sins for Personal Branding that Ruin Job Prospects

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Employer: Who are you?

You: Accounting Bachelor.

Employer: Fascinating. I, um, got something pressing to wrap up…





Conversation deal breakers are what often bites millennial job seekers. You might say, ‘well of course I should tell them what I am aiming towards.’

Employers have thick skin. It’s been built from the tons of profiles they view, reading job title after job title till it means little. They are only human, and their eyes gloss over when they read yet another boring generic profile.

That is where personal branding comes to the rescue.


Personal Branding Superhero

It’s not that complex. Yes, it requires continuous improvement, and quite a bit of commitment. But just like you aren’t planning on working for a few years, your brand that markets who you are needs to be constantly polished and improved.


What do Branding Leaders Say

Marketing master Jim Joseph tells of how effective content marketing can achieve unprecedented results with customers in business. Content that inspires and compels customers to take action create relationships with customers that no other loyalty program can emulate.

But like all things in content marketing, it all falls back to your brand. Content marketing often takes the focus off the brand, according to Joseph. He also mentions that brands that are successful give value to customers, not necessarily promoting product features.


It all comes down to how you define your brand.


Brands that are generic and fake ring false and don’t resonate with your audience. When a brand defines itself by highlighting and standing by its core values and beliefs, this is when the magic starts.


Who the bloody hell are you?

Creating a job title, doing what everyone else is doing isn’t a brand. Are you then just a financial accountant? Are you satisfied with being grouped with such a dull and lifeless term?

I say nay. You are unique, the only you. It doesn’t mean you have to have something paradigm shifting, groundbreaking to reveal.


Just be yourself. Add a bit of personality to your profiles. Make it tell of who you are, to create an authentic image of yourself.

Remember: Anything you do to your profile on LinkedIn is a representation of who you are, your image or ‘brand’. So put some creativity and thought into standing out and showing a bit of personality.

So begins the regaling of the list of four sins you shan’t commit in your branding strategy.


Sin Number 1: Bah Bah Sheep

Writing like the rest of the ‘herd’ is the first sin. Using terminology and language everyone else is using is putting you in the background.

Ever seen these before? “KPI orientated driven professional, with a mindset to win.”

Bah bah, I am a sheep, one indistinguishable from the herd. It doesn’t sound human or personal.

Hopefully, you don’t write like this after reading this blog piece. Keywords are great for SEO, but it doesn’t need to be done at the expense of ‘you’ the person.


Write as if you were describing yourself to a real person.

“I got into sales because I loved the energy and pace that was natural in any sales division. Hitting targets and smashing them gave me that extra kick, fitting in with my competitiveness. That is why I developed processes in personal KPI management, leading to my specialization of KPI management and sales management.”


Sin Number 2 Singing Ode’s of Praise to Yourself

Smothering people in stories of your worth and importance is hard to listen to and not helpful in your branding strategy.

People that have so little self-esteem, that they need to sing their praises to complete strangers are seen as insecure and ‘fresh’ off the block. They are afraid that if they don’t tell you how great they are, you won’t be able to figure it out by yourself.


The goal of personal branding is to let yourself shine through qualifications and your skills, to show the person behind that profile.


Instead of self-praise, tell a story of when you had success or were involved in a major project.

“During University, I led a charity fundraising event for the Tsunami disaster relief. My team raised $6,500 in under three days. We collected ideas and churned through event after even, never losing focus on delivering aid to survivors in Japan.”

Let your stories and personality do the talking for you.


Sin Number 3 Title Toting

Qualifications and titles are things you worked hard for, and should be placed in the appropriate section in your profile and resume.

Using it as the central theme of your branding strategy is saying one thing: I AM PRINCETON

These diplomas and degrees are achievements but don’t comprise even a quarter of who you are as a person. If you wave it like a banner, you are hiding behind the brand of that establishment, not confident in your ability to stand up as an individual and brand yourself.


Any famed University would want their graduates to benefit from their brand, and use it to do greater things. Not hide behind it and box themselves inside.


Sin number 4 Regurgitating Responsibilities

Tasks and things done are the most common way of talking about previous work experience. And the big reason is because we don’t know what to say, about ourselves and our experiences.

Employers and companies want to know these things:

What things did you do that left a lasting impression on your previous workplaces?

Why did you perform these duties?

What challenges did you face?

Did you see changes you can make to improve things, and how did you do it?


Saying “I hit and exceeded KPIs during my previous role as a laptop salesman” doesn’t have any substance.


How about this?

“Knowing that my customer base was diverse, from teenagers to professionals, I created signs that highlighted the best customer for each laptop model. I crafted pitches for each, demonstrating which systems and hardware were best for professionals and students and also determined the price ranges dependent on each customer range. Doing so pre-empted questions and smoothened the selling process, exceeding my KPIs by 40%.”

Your audience, employers, and companies want to see what you did, and why. How did you achieve these results, and what motivated you? They want details and values, how you think and tick.


In Closing

Personal branding is happening to you, whether you like it or not. What you put online and on your resumes are creating an image of who you are to employers.

Don’t be another animal in the herd, but stand out and give them a person with stories to share on your profiles.


What was your most/least favorite part? What do you think?

Please share your insight and join the conversation in the comments below.

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