Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your personal brand checklist will ensure the world sees you as you wish. It will help you reflect your personal brand in all you do. Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the you are seen! Here is your personal brand checklist.

personal brand checklist
Your checklist
  1. Are you sure people believe you know what you are talking about? First of all, does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date? Do the words you use at work reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time? Do you write articles and blog posts on your specialist interest?

What about your “elevator speech”?

2. Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers? Can you say your piece within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say? Can you influence people? Why not do a market survey? So, you could choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  Why not, read a book about it, take a class or work with a coach like me.

4. Do you dress for the job at work? Because you do need to know the dress code for your sector? And you would be wise to follow it for success. But what about off duty? If you met you boss in the supermarket, what impression would they get? Think about what is appropriate to the situation. And balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

Do you know how to behave at work?

5. By that I mean the etiquette for your organisation and your sector? What kind of business cards do people carry? Most of all, always be courteous. Therefore, always be the one who follows up and says thank you after a kind deed. Remember to do it after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress? Take time out to build your address book. Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly! When you have built your relationship, ask contacts for further introductions. Use LinkedIn to find new people.

How often do you nurture your network?

7. Are you working at nurturing your relationships with your contacts? Most of all, are you showing an active interest and do you genuinely care care about them? Ask how they are and what they are doing. But make sure you mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time? Do you give something back to the community with voluntary work? Or perhaps you help your local sports club? You don’t need to brag about it; news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious. It’s the you the world sees and judges by. Nurture your brand and you will nurture both your life and your career.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link



There is a website called that provides educational resources for children.  It works on the principles that

  • Your character is defined by what you do, not what you say or believe.
  • Every choice you make helps define the kind of person you are choosing to be.
  • Good character requires doing the right thing, even when it is costly or risky.
  • You don’t have to take the worst behavior of others as a standard for yourself. You can choose to be better than that.
  • What you do matters, and one person can make a big difference.
  • The payoff for having good character is that it makes you a better person and it makes the world a better place.

This is what it says about HOW TO BE A FAIR PERSON

Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Take Turns.

Tell the truth.

Play by the rules.

Think about how your actions will affect others.

Listen to people with an open mind.

Don’t blame others for your mistakes.

Don’t take advantage of other people.

Don’t play favorites.

As managers we talk a lot about being “fair”!  Indeed there is significant amount of legislation aimed at trying to make sure we behave in a way that is fair.  But I wonder what we are really thinking when we use the word?  Would everything you have done over the last week or even over the last day at work and at home, really stand the test set out above.  Isn’t it clear that our customers, as well as our friends and family, might think better of us and return more often, if we acted in accordance with these simple rules for children!  If you do happen to be someone who doesn’t think  this approach actually works, then all I’m asking is that you try it for a while, just try it!  You may be surprised!


Its more important than ever right now to do well at interviews.  Don’t lose your vital opportunity because you have not done your home work!

  1. Research as much as you can about the company – products, services, markets, competitors, trends, current activities, priorities.
  2. Prepare your answers for the type of questions you’ll be asked, especially, be able to say why you want the job, what your strengths are, how you’d do the job, what your best achievements are.
  3. Prepare good questions to ask at the interview – see the section below.
  4. Related to the above, request a copy of the company’s employment terms and conditions or employee handbook before the interview, in order to save time covering routine matters during the interview.
  5. Assemble hard evidence (make sure it’s clear and concise) of how what you’ve achieved in the past – proof will put you ahead of those who merely talk about it.
  6. Have at least one other interview lined up, or have a recent job offer, or the possibility of receiving one from a recent job interview, and make sure you mention it to the interviewer.
  7. Make sure your resume/cv is up to date, looking very good and even if already supplied to the interviewer take three with you (one for the interviewer, one for you and a spare in case the interviewer brings a colleague in to the meeting).
  8. Get hold of the following material and read it, and remember the relevant issues, and ask questions about the areas that relate to the organisation and the role. Obtain and research: the company’s sales brochures and literature, a trade magazine covering the company’s market sector, and a serious newspaper for the few days before the interview so you’re informed about world and national news. Also worth getting hold of: company ‘in-house’ magazines or newsletters, competitor leaflets, local or national newspaper articles featuring the company.
  9. Review your personal goals and be able to speak openly and honestly about them and how you plan to achieve them.
  10. Ensure you have two or three really good reputable and relevant references, and check they’d each be happy to be contacted.
  11. Adopt an enthusiastic, alert, positive mind-set.  Follow the link.
  12. Particularly think about how to deal positively with any negative aspects – especially from the perspective of telling the truth, instead of evading or distorting facts, which rarely succeeds.
  13. Try to get some experience of personality tests. Discover your personality strengths and weaknesses that would be indicated by a test, and be able to answer questions positively about the results. (Do not be intimidated by personality testing – expose yourself to it and learn about yourself)  More at link
  14. Think about what to wear.  Do you know the company dress code? When in doubt wear a smart business suit!
  15. Some jobs invite or offer opportunity to re-define or develop the role itself. It might be a existing role or a new position. If so prepare for this. Most jobs in fact offer this potential, but sometimes it is a stated requirement.

Asking Questions to Impress the Interviewer

A key to asking great questions at your interview is to ask questions that impress the interviewer. Most candidates just ask about routine details that they think they ought to know, or which they think of on the spur of the moment, but which will probably be provided in due course anyway in documentation about terms and conditions. This is meaningless   and should be avoided.

Instead focus on the job priorities and scope, on the organisation and ways to make a difference or an improvement. Try to think strategically like a manager, and for very senior positions, like the CEO. Try to adopt the mind-set of a helpful advisor who needs to ask helpful facilitative questions. Focus on the organisation not on your own needs.

Try to prepare and ask questions that make the interviewer think to themselves, “Wow, that’s a good question – this candidate has really thought about the role, and understands the sort of issues we need them to handle/the sort of responsibilities/initiatives we want them to take..”

Aim to ask questions that make the interviewer think, (depending on what the organisation and role requires), “Wow, that’s an unusual question – this candidate is special – they are demonstrating to me that they understand people/understand about communications/have great integrity/a strong value system/great humanity/maturity/a good strategic mind/etc, etc.”

Think before the interview about what the successful candidate will be like – ask yourself beforehand, what great questions would the successful candidate ask? And then be that person.

When you research the job look into the sort of challenges the organisation is facing, and think how this affects the vacant role. What does the employer need from the successful applicant? How might the role be extended to contribute more to the organisation if the job were performed by a suitably positive and capable person ? (That’s you incidentally.) The job advert or job specification might give you some clues. Do your research so that you understand as much as possible about the priorities of the job position, and the organisation and its situation, and then think about the ways that the role could be extended to provide greater support towards achieving organisational challenges.

This sort of background thinking will help you to prepare questions that will seriously impress any interviewer, whatever the role. It is possible also to think of good positive impressive questions just by using what you know of the role and the sort of issues that face modern employers. The point is, you need to think about it and prepare beforehand.

The use of this material is free provided copyright (see below) is acknowledged and reference or link is made to the website. This material may not be sold, or published in any form. Disclaimer: Reliance on information, material, advice, or other linked or recommended resources, received from Alan Chapman, shall be at your sole risk, and Alan Chapman assumes no responsibility for any errors, omissions, or damages arising. Users of this website are encouraged to confirm information received with other sources, and to seek local qualified advice if embarking on any actions that could carry personal or organisational liabilities. Managing people and relationships are sensitive activities; the free material and advice available via this website do not provide all necessary safeguards and checks. Please retain this notice on all copies.

© alan chapman 1995-2009


We are all going through change all the time.  But at the moment many of us are going through changes we would not have chosen as a result of the poor state of the Economy.

All change requires some form of communications/media management.  It’s vital that you have a strategy in place especially if you’re hoping that social media will play a role in your career advancement or your business survival business.

Here are 5 tip for your social media strategy

1. Integrate Online and Offline
Your communication’s strategy needs to cover both your off line and and online activities (see our recent post about managing your brand)  – you want to maximise both forms of interactions.  You are going to make every effort, campaign, and initiative count.

2. Start with a plan
Before you jump in, make sure you have a plan – think about who you are trying to influence.  Who has an interest in you or your business and what you want to provide.  List them and then decide – how important they are  – how much influence they have over your future – you can score them out of five under each heading!  Those with the highest score are the people to concentrate on. For social media you are usually looking at communities – what communities are you going to engage in?  Now what will  engagement will look like? What is the message and where are you going to communicate it – blogs, social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook etc.?  How much time have you got and how many resources do you have available?  Now we are going to concentrate on social media

3. Engage in Conversations
When you use social media, it’s important to engage in conversations and get to know people just like in the off-line world.  Don’t just get in there and start pitching – it will just put people off!  Don’t be anxious to promote yourself or business at first,!  Add value and expertise and win respect in your conversations.  When you have done that opportunities will open up to talk about you and your business.  You need to win the right to pitch!

4. Monitor your Brand
Use tools like Google Alerts, Scoutlab, and Radian6 to monitor what’s being said about you, your company, your competitors and the market you are targeting. Knowing what’s being said about you and/or your brand can make you aware of your brand evangelists as well as your brand assassins. Knowing what’s being said about your competitors and the market can also make you more competitive. Simply putting your name and the name of your company into a search engine regularly will tell you a lot about your web presence!

5. Focus and Ignore the Noise
There are so many conversations taking place and so much interesting content that it easy to be distracted.  This is where your plan comes in – remind yourself what you are trying to say and the communities you want to address.  Stick to the plan – but review it at regular intervals as you get to understand more about social media.  You can streamline your plan to better target individuals and the communities that you need to be a part of. It also saves time – social media is so enjoyable to use it can be the greatest time waster in the world!

Above all remember –  “If content is king, then conversationion is queen.” – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka


The world sees your personal brand in all you do.  Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the world see you – your personal  brand!   Here are eight questions to ask yourself!

1. Do people believe you know what you are talking about?  Does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date?  Do the words you use reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time?  Do you write articles and blop posts on your specialist interest?

2. Do you have an introductory piece – an ‘elevator speech?  Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers, within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say?  Why not do a market survey – choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  If not, then read a book or take a class.

4. Do you dress for the job?  Do you know what the dress code is for your sector?  Do you follow it?  But what about off duty – if you met you boss in the supermarket , what impression would they get?  Think about what is appropriate to the situation  – balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

5. Do you know the etiquette for your organization and your sector?  What kind of business cards do people carry?  Be the one who follows up and says thank you after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress?  Take time out to build your address book.  Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly!  Ask contacts for further introductions.  Use LinkedIn to find new people.

7.Do you nurture your network?  Do you work at nurturing your relationship with your contacts.  Do you show an active interest in them and genuinely care care about them?  Ask how they are and what they are doing and mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time?  If you give something back ot the community with voluntary work or help your local sports club – the news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious – it’s the you that the world sees and judges you by.  Nurture your brand and you will nurture your life and your career.


Probably the greatest gift you can have in life is the ability to get one with other people.  We have already written about emotional intelligence and you can follow that up at the link. But this is simply a piece about  getting on with others – simple but very important.  Some of us are born with the gift;  for other our parents teach us how to do it.  Unfortunately, some people just slip through the net and they can’t understand why they don’t get on with others.  Going through change ,as in life, social skills are invaluable.  Happily even later in life you can learn some techniques to help.

1. Relax

You need to be able to concentrate on some one else and in order to do that you need to be relaxed enough to forget yourself.  We have provided a simple relaxation technique at the link which you might like to practice for 15 minutes before any really challenging social situation.  If you don’t have that much time, then take yourself to a quiet place, take some gentle deep breaths and just think of your favorite place in the world for a few seconds – one more deep breath!   Now you are ready for an adventure! Remember when you meet someone that you really do have lots of things in common already.  We all share the common human condition.  Most of us worry about our health, having enough money our families and what other people think of us.  The Dalai Lama thinks of everyone as an old fiend – that way he can relax and be warm towards them!  Try it – its very useful skill  and well worth practicing.

2. Concentrate on them

Here is this other person, with all their life history, before you!  They are an unopened book!  There are very few people who don’t like talking about themselves and their interests, if you give them the opportunity.  Don’t get too personal too quickly and its a good idea to relate your question to the even.  |You can always ask – have they been here before, why have they come, what is their special interest?  Parties you can always ask who they know?  Concentrate on them, listen to them and then ask a follow up question based on what they just told you – keep them talking!  Focus on them not you!

3. Use your listening Skills

We’ve already written on listening skills – more at the link.  But briefly – let the other person know you are listening   by making ‘I’m listening’ noises – ‘Uh-huh’, ‘really?’, ‘oh yes?’ Feed back what you’ve heard – “So he went to the dentist? What happened?” !  Refering back to others’ comments later on – “You know how you were saying earlier”.   Pay attention!

4. Empathise

Take an interest in what they saying – try to keep still,  make eye contact (but don’t stare) and smile (if they are telling you something neutral or nice and don’t if they are telling you something sad).   A fascination (even if forced at first) with another’s conversation, not only increases your comfort levels, it makes them feel interesting. Remember what I said about sharing the human condition – they are interesting – they have a whole life to tell you about!

5.Build Rapport

Rapport is a state of understanding or connection that occurs in a good social interaction. It says basically “I am like you, we understand each other“. Rapport occurs on an unconscious level, and when it happens, the language, speech patterns, body movement and posture, and other aspects of communication can synchronize down to incredibly fine levels. Rapport is an unconscious process, but it can be encouraged by conscious efforts.

  • Body posture ‘mirroring’, or movement ‘matching’  – stand or sit the way they stand or sit etc!  For example – if they cross their arms, cross yours.  But not obviously!
  • Reflecting back language and speech –  use the same words – if they are talking quietly – you do too.  If they are talking quickly speed up etc
  • Feeding back what you have heard, as in 3) above

6. Self Disclosure

You need to think about how much to talk about yourself and when.  Talking about yourself too much and too early can be a major turn-off for the other person.  Initially don’t tell them your family secrets, your politics, your religion, the details of your medical complaints or your divorce.  Keep those things for when you know each other a little better.  You can talk about the weather (in UK), television, films, the theatre, – ask them what books they are reading.  Keep it balanced and in the neutral space – let them take it on to more personal things when they are ready.   As conversations and relationships progress, disclosing personal facts (small, non-emotional ones first!) leads to a feeling of getting to know each other.

7. Appropriate eye contact
If you don’t look at someone when you are talking or listening to them, they will get the idea that: you are ignoring them or you are untrustworthy or you just don’t like them.  This doesn’t mean you have to stare at them – staring at someone while talking to them can give them the feeling you are angry with them. Keeping your eyes on them while you are listening, of course, is only polite and smile when its appropriate.  But note rules vary and  eye contact in particular varies between culture.

8. Practice

Remember this is a skill and you have to practice.  Do it consciously and do it often.  You will find you lose yourself in it and become really interested in the other person and therefore interesting to them.  It will become second nature and you will begin to wonder what the fuss was about.  Above enjoy your practice and begin to enjoy meeting people.

Good Luck –I would love to hear how you get on!


These tips will help you create and communicate a brand that will help employers choose you:  Remember you are the product, and the employer is the consumer. A clear and compelling career brand helps employers understand the benefits of your product and give you an advantage in the job market.

  1. Successful career brands weave together three A’s: Authentic image, Advantages, and Awareness. Project an image of your authentic self, focus on the advantages you offer in getting the job done, and make employers aware of those advantages.
    • Authentic Image: Your brand should be founded on authenticity. It should be about who you are, your work-life purpose and what you are committed to in life. As a starting point to develop your brand, brainstorm a list of all the things you are good at. Then identify your passion. Using your brainstormed list of what you’re good at, circle those items you are most passionate about. What is number one?
    • Advantages: Once you’ve identified your top pick, determine the advantages to that item. For instance, if you are good at resolving conflicts what could be the advantages to a new employer – greater cooperation among team members, which leads to enhanced productivity. List at least three distinct advantages for your brand.
    • Awareness: Internationally known consultant and author Alan Weiss, states that a brand is “an awareness factor.” Above all, look for opportunities to make the right people aware of your brand. Get on the radar screen. The best brand in the world is useless unless people are aware of it. Initiate an orchestrated campaign to “brandish” your brand. You can get your name out there by writing articles, speaking at association meetings, doing some voluntary work.
  2. Conduct some some analysis to determine what the market conditions are for your emerging brand. Is there a need for what you offer? Are companies hiring in that area? Are there competitors for what you want to do? If the answers to these questions are negative, consider fine-tuning your brand.
  3. Once you’ve determined your passionate competency and the market demand, begin to determine the best approach for positioning your brand. Think unique positioning. Are you the best at creating product marketing strategies, are you the first one to have mastered how to conduct electronic meetings for your work team, are you the most accomplished, award-winning sales professional in your company/industry?
  4. Branding can be accomplished through verbal and visual means. Verbal branding includes your sound bites and success stories, while visual branding is accomplished through your actions, attitude, and attire. Hone your product benefits into a short 3-Point Marketing Message that conveys your unique strengths. This message/elevator pitch should be a critical sound bite in your branding campaign.
  5. Create a statement on the benefits you bring to keep you focused in your search, help networking contacts know how to help you, and explain your value to interviewers. Align your statement with employer buying motivators, such as generating revenue, saving money, or solving a problem.
  6. Be prepared for the networking opportunities that abound, both internally and externally. Be ready with a sound bite that describes your unique brand. Mix and match your success stories and sound bites to create a comfortable yet compelling 2-Minute Introduction.
  7. Practice. You must be able to deliver your sound bites naturally, without appearing as though you’re reading a telemarketing script.
  8. Visual branding means you must look the part. Ask for wardrobe advice from someone who is successful and has a good sense of style. If uncertain about how to dress for a networking event or interview, err on the side of formality.
  9. Visual branding also means you must act the part. Candidly evaluate your mindset, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. Are these consistent with others in your field who have attained notable success?
  10. Find a person or two who will respectfully and selflessly support you in your commitment to shaping and enhancing your ideal image. A coach can be an ideal support person.

Branding will either contribute to or take away from the chemistry you want to create with employers. Remember to look for opportunities to deliver your brand. In doing so, you’ll bring value, benefits, and advantages to those you serve. Enjoy creating and communicating a clear and compelling brand!

Taking Control of Brand Me

Does your personal brand work for you?

We’re all familiar with the need for marketing, advertising, PR and promotion of the brand of our company and our services, but what about us as the people behind the brand? Lesley Everett is an International Speaker and Personal Branding Expert and Coach.  Here are a couple of extracts from an article she wrote that appeared on line recntly.  You can find the complete article with 7 strides to improving your personal brand at the link below

“In today’s busy and time-limited world we often have to use intuition and gut-feel to make quick judgements, and the visual impression we give has a huge effect on the way others judge our inner values, such as professionalism, integrity, trust and credibility. In other words, our outer packaging gives others perceived clues as to our true character.”
“It’s about being yourself and individual, but having a strong personal brand is not just about what you wear – it’s about projecting a strong and consistent ‘personal brand’ image for yourself through the way you talk, the way you behave, your body talk and your sartorial and grooming skills, and then taking control of your visibility to manage your own PR   You could call it projecting a Brand Me image. “

Find IFAs and Financial Advisers at the financial social network : IFA Life -.


Increasingly you are judged on your contributions to the web – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs etc.  You will gain an online persona – your personal brand – whether you want to or not.  This can affect large parts of your life and certainly gaining business and work opportunities.  Your personal brand really does matter and you can develop it as you wish!  If you make a positive effort it can make a major contribution to your success.

Benjamin Yoskovitz. is the CEO & co-Founder of Standout Jobs, a venture-backed startup founded in 2007. He is also a blog and social media consultant.  He has been an entrepreneur for 10+ years in the Web space, working extensively in web & software development. He is obsessed with creating things  and with customer service. The piece below is from his blog to which there is a link at the bottom. These are his thoughts, not mine, but I would love to hear what you think!

“ Personal Branding Lessons

Looking back, here are some thoughts from my own experiences building my personal brand:

  1. It’s never too late to start. In some respects I think it’s easier to start making a concerted effort to build and cultivate your personal brand once you’re older and you have a few years working experience. You know more, you’re more comfortable in your shoes, and you have some experience to rely on. There are still too many examples of young people screwing up in public (on Facebook or Twitter) and getting in trouble for it (although there aren’t that many examples, they’re just blown out of proportion.
  2. You know more than you realize. A lot of people seem afraid to speak up publicly and promote themselves because they don’t feel like they have anything to say. You’d be surprised what you know.
  3. What you know is valuable. And what you know is likely valuable to a bunch of people, even if you don’t realize it. As they say, Common sense isn’t all that common. Just think of the college graduate coming up after you into your field of expertise, and the difference between where that person is at and where you’re at…
  4. Connecting online is easier than you think. I was amazed at how easily I could connect online with people. I still remember some of those early connections – Liz Strauss, Becky McCray, Chris Cree, Mike Sansone, Terry Starbucker and so many more. It was easy to find people online (who shared my interests), get myself involved, and build out a valuable network.
  5. It takes time and commitment. Building your personal brand isn’t something you do once in awhile when you’re bored. It takes time and commitment, and it never stops. And doing it half-ass won’t get you anywhere.
  6. It’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed building my personal brand, and the activities that are involved with that online – blogging, connecting, helping others, asking for help. It’s a process you have to enjoy otherwise you won’t do it properly and invest the right time. Plus, there is a feedback loop – as you gain valuable connections, leads (for jobs or business), comments on your blog, etc. you’ll realize that all of that is worthwhile feedback on your efforts. And that’s motivating.
  7. Watch. Learn. Emulate. Do your own thing. Starting the process of building your personal brand doesn’t involve years of research or anything that hasn’t been done before. As Dan’s book proves – there are models for making this stuff work. I remember spending a good amount of time watching and learning, and then emulating what others were doing. It was natural to copy what seemed to be working. But over time you branch out, do your own thing, experiment and your own personality, brand, value emerges.
  8. Your personal brand will (and should) evolve. Don’t think of your personal brand as a static item. It’s not a resume that you submit once and forget about; it’s a living, breathing thing. It changes and evolves, just as you do. That’s OK and expected.

Personal branding works. I’m a perfect use case for it. And certainly not the only one! But ultimately, I’m convinced that building a strong personal brand can absolutely help in career success (be it finding a new job, moving up within your organization, changing careers, etc.) and in many cases is a necessity.”

Read more: “The Importance of Personal Branding” –