Article, 10-Step Executive Branding Worksheet :

10-Step Executive Branding Worksheet

by Meg Guiseppi, Reach CPBS, MRW, CPRW


Chances are you've been hearing and reading a lot about personal branding lately.


This is good and bad.


The good – people are learning why defining their personal brand is step one for healthy career management and job search acceleration. Whether or not you accept it, in today's executive job market, no matter what industry, personal branding is not optional.


The bad – misinformation about branding is rampant. Consequently, misconceptions abound.


If you've come to the conclusion that branding is all about self-promotion, narcissism, and making big money by marketing yourself, you've been listening to the wrong people.


More good news – you already have a personal brand. Your brand is your reputation – the perception of you held by the external world. Your brand is the unique combination of personal attributes, values, drivers, strengths, and passions that define you. Your brand helps those assessing you determine whether they should hire you or do business with you.


The brand development process empowers you with a firm understanding of what differentiates your unique promise of value from your job search competition.


Another great thing about knowing and communicating your brand is that it helps generate chemistry and attracts recruiters, employers, and hiring decision makers.


Once you've defined your brand, you're ready to create your value proposition messaging designed to resonate with your target audience, which you’ll communicate across all career marketing channels, online and offline – executive resume, career biography, LinkedIn profile, blog/website, real-life networking, social networking, etc.


Following is an abbreviated version of the executive brand development process I guide my clients through, which is based on my training as a Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist:


1. What are your vision and purpose?


Look externally at the bigger picture of your vision for the world, and then internally at your purpose – how you might help the world realize your vision.


2. What are your values and passions?


You have to know yourself and what you want and need before you can move forward. If your core values and the passions that drive you aren’t met, you probably won’t be happy in your next career step. First, identify what things you're passionate about doing and how they converge with what you're best at doing.


3. What are your top goals for the next year, 2 years, and 5 years?


Work on projecting what you intend to accomplish so you can put together a strategic action plan to get there.


4. Do an assessment of your top brand attributes.


What 3 or 4 adjectives best describe the value you offer? What words do you use to define your personality? Once you pinpoint what you feel are the right kinds of words, it’s a good idea to consult a thesaurus to precisely nail the exact words. Some examples:


Collaborative, resilient, forward-focused, risk-taking, connected, international, visionary, diplomatic, intuitive, precise, enterprising, ethical, genuine, accessible.


5. What are your core strengths or motivated skills?


In what functions and responsibilities do you excel? For what things are you the designated “go-to” person? What gap would your company be faced with if you left suddenly? Some examples:


Identifying problems, seeing the details, leading, delegating, performing analysis, fact finding, crunching numbers, anticipating risk, motivating, mentoring, innovating, managing conflict, writing, listening, communicating.


6. Get feedback from those who know you best – at work, at home, anywhere.


The true measure of your brand is the reputation others hold of you in their hearts and minds. Notice how they introduce you to others. Ask them what your top brand attributes and core strengths are. How does your self-assessment jibe with their feedback?


A good option to accomplish this – the 360° Reach Personal Brand Assessment (, a confidential, web-based tool that collects anonymous 360-degree feedback in real time from your choice of respondents.


7. Do a SWOT analysis (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats).


Strengths and weaknesses are internal, and speak to your potential value to an employer. Opportunities and threats are external, and help you foresee what you’re facing in next career steps.


SWOT is an invaluable personal branding exercise that also helps prepare you for interviewing and future career growth and stability.


8. Who is your target audience?


Determine where you want to fit in (industry and niche area of expertise). Learn what decision makers in that field are looking for when they’re vetting candidates. Find out where those decision makers hang out and what key words will attract them. Position yourself in front of them and capture their attention.


9. Who is your competition in the marketplace and what differentiates you from them?


What does your competition typically have to offer? Determine what attributes, strengths and passions come together to make you the best hiring choice for organizations that you know are a good mutual fit. What value do you bring to the table that no one else does?


10. Remember the 3 Cs of personal branding:


A strong personal brand communications plan embraces these 3 characteristics:

* Clarity – be clear about who you are and who you are not.
* Consistency – steadfastly express your brand across all communications channels – online and offline.
* Constancy – strong brands are always visible to their target audience.

The work involved in uncovering and defining your brand may seem daunting, but your efforts will benefit you immeasurably. In job search, developing and communicating your personal brand can pre-qualify you as a good fit, clearly showcase why you’re the best hiring choice, and position you to land your next great gig.


© Copyright, 2010, Meg Guiseppi. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Connect with Meg at Executive Career Brand (