Create Your Story to Advance Your Career

Build Your Personal Brand Through Your Signature Stories

How are you conveying your personal brand? With today’s sputtering economy, it’s even more important to have your own personal marketing plan, built around your personal brand. If you already have a job, do you feel secure in that job? Are you progressing at an acceptable pace? Are you doing work that is meaningful to you? If you’re a job seeker, are you reaching decision-makers in your chosen field, and can you articulate to them why they should hire you? If not, then you need to work on building your personal brand!

If you are a jobseeker, one way to convey your personal brand is through your resume. What does your resume say about your personal brand? A resume should reflect the strengths and accomplishments throughout your career. Make sure your content conveys those key qualities that you uniquely express and are core to your personal brand. Highlight the experiences that feature the qualities that comprise your personal brand. And of course, because you’re reading this Southworth blog, you already know that it’s important to put your resume on high-quality premium cotton paper such as Southworth Resume Paper.

Even if you are not actively looking for a job, I find that it’s beneficial to mentally recap specific times when you expressed that particular quality or skill. This is helpful when you need to articulate your personal brand to others in a non-offensive, non-bragging manner. I call these “signature stories.” These are short summaries that give concrete examples of how and when you expressed a quality. In order to break it down and make it somewhat more manageable, you can think in terms of a formula that might be helpful in the development of your signature stories. First, briefly explain the situation, then highlight the opportunity that existed or the challenge to be overcome, tell what you did to resolve the issue, and end with the results that came of your actions

List your key strengths. Underneath each strength, provide an example of that strength in action. Briefly describe the situation, the barriers you had to overcome, or the opportunity that existed, what actions you took, and the results.

Some people have an easier time focusing on their accomplishments. Think of a major project you were involved with and build a signature story for that. List the accomplishment, then briefly describe the situation, the barriers you had to overcome, what actions you took, and the results.

Build a mental file of signature stories that you can speak to at appropriate times. Communicating these stories to relevant audiences, such as your colleagues, potential clients, prospective employers, or industry influencers, will help build your personal brand and advance your career.

Rahna Barthelmess is a branding strategist and author of the soon-to-be released personal branding bible Turbo-Charge Your Career. You can find out more about branding and personal branding at

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