• Hillary Hufford-Tucker

Personal Branding: Hocus Pocus or Strategic Focus?

Is personal branding a meaningless or magical pursuit? If you're under the illusion that you can pull a professional brand out of a hat using a fancy resume and LinkedIn profile, you'll likely be disappointed with the result.

To build a strategic brand that propels you throughout your career, you must evaluate and publicize your Three "Ps" - your past, present, and potential. Knowing exactly what makes you valuable to a current or future employer will make the job search or promotion process more manageable.

First, evaluate your achievements, current offerings, and long-term goals to provide the foundation for your brand story. Then, create messages that link your three Ps with the prospective position. These narratives can help with everything from elevator pitches and promotion requests to cover letters and interviews. They're also helpful when explaining a job change, such as a layoff or career pivot.


Tie your past successes to the role. Make the connections for a prospective employer with:

· Examples of financial improvements or savings

· Accomplishments in increasing or decreasing a significant metric

· Details of an exceptional award, education, or certification


Show how your current role is connected to the new position by:

· Directly tying your current responsibilities to prospective company needs

· Highlighting a proven approach to an important project for the organization

· Correlating your transferable skills – both hard and soft – with expected competencies


Demonstrate how your past and present will create successful future outcomes by:

· Identifying new opportunities or strategies for the company

· Validating a growth mindset by articulating professional development goals

· Developing a case study, strategy pitch, or implementation plan

As you develop your Three Ps, reflect on the magic mirror of the hiring manager. Most employers want people that can grow into a position and deliver some magic in the long term. How will your messages about your past, present, and potential resonate with your audience?

Be strategic in constructing your brand story for current and future roles. Imagine the best candidate's past, present, and potential and make those connections in your brand story as your career progresses.


As a certified career coach, Hillary guides extraordinary people and their personal brands. She's a career solutionista that helps clients discover their unique worth to find new employment, pivot industries, or move toward cause-oriented work. When Hillary's not busy coaching amazing people, she rides bikes, learns about wine, cooks for friends, and travels globally with her family. Find out more and sign up for her newsletter at www.careersolutionista.com.

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