How to Build Your Personal Brand with Three Powerful Words

February 24, 2015

In a day and age when everyone is vying to win the hearts and minds of followers on social media, it’s clear the need to separate yourself from the pack is more prevalent than ever. And with competition for tech talent again on the rise, that’s especially true for startups and their founders. The importance of projecting a consistent, unique message about who you are and what you have to offer is how you will not only be remembered, but also how you will become respected in your industry.

As a startup, the challenge specifically comes in being seen as a thought leader and true force to be reckoned with in your vertical. Anyone can search your company online and determine who you are and what you do. But being able to develop an evocative brand and message that clearly defines your company’s unique mission, vision, and values is easier said than done.

It’s equally difficult to fully leverage your brand to attract and hire the best employees. Not only must hiring managers and team members operate as a conduit of the company’s brand they must also develop personal brands that are credible, distinctive, and genuine in their own right.

Laurie Ruettimann is someone who has been able to do both of those things remarkably well. An influential HR advisor, speaker, and social media strategist, Laurie left her HR role at Pfizer in 2007 to build her own consultancy business and establish herself as a thought leader in HR and marketing. Eight years, three blogs, three advisory seats, and 39.5k Twitter followers later, Laurie has embodied successful personal branding.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Laurie and discuss the importance of personal branding and how to do it the right way. Here’s her take:

“Everybody wants to have a brand now, so when everybody’s doing something, my tendency is to do the exact opposite.”

Laurie Ruettimann

The rules of branding have changed a little over the past five years. First of all, everybody wants to have a brand now so when everybody’s doing something, my tendencies are to do the exact opposite. Everybody out there is trying to get a niche and trying to differentiate themselves and I think really good advice in 2015 is to put your head down and do good work and stop trying to be a micro-celebrity.

I talk to HR professionals who are really trying to figure out, “how do I differentiate myself and have a social presence.” It’s all about saying good stuff, being interesting, having great content and developing the right relationships. I want to make sure that the followers I have are the right ones.

I follow the advice that’s been given to me by a million people over the past couple of years:

Figure out the three core words that describe who you are and what you offer. (Tweet this)

It doesn’t necessarily have to be all-encompassing but it sort of has to be true. So, I write about work, I write about life, and I write about my cats. Whenever somebody has an experience with me, I deliver on work, life, cats. Figure out those three words whether you work in human resources or you work in supply chain or logistics or marketing and you really try to figure out how to deliver on those three words.

Photo by: Francesca Guadagnini

Technical Recruiter

<strong>Rose O'Connell</strong> is a technical recruiter at <a href="">AthenaHealth</a>. She was previously a Talent Specialist with OpenView.