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Veteran Personal Branding - Who Am I?

In the military, everything is about team… ‘we’… ‘us’… ‘battle buddy’… ‘buddy system’…

In the civilian world, we are suddenly supposed to start recognizing terms such as…. ‘I’… ‘me’… ‘myself’…

We are suddenly expected to go by our first names… those names that have become foreign to us and have often been replaced by our last name… or our rank… or the nickname we gained by doing something really awesome and memorable… or something really dumb.

It can all feel so foreign. And overwhelming.

What is personal branding? Personal branding is becoming widely talked about and mentioned in the workplace. It is essentially marketing yourself and your career as a ‘brand’. Sound silly? Well, even if it may to you, it is a very powerful tool in the civilian sector.

While on the job market, you have to stand out! You need people to remember you. This is what personal branding really is. It is how you present yourself both online and offline. Your personal brand can build your business but in the end – it centers around you!

When you have a brand, it can be attractive. Opportunity can find YOU. It can create online networking and in-person networking POWER. It can get you hired.

Did you know that 84 percent of hiring managers use social media to hire – 96 percent use LinkedIn and over half use Twitter! But guess what? Over 60 percent of hiring managers use Facebook to hire. Think of it like this – Job seeker 1 has an impressive resume. But, Job Seeker 2 (YOU) has an impressive resume and their strong personal brand shows that they have a blog with articles relevant to the company’s mission and vision. They tweet about news and ideas from the industry to which they are applying to. They also care about their health as shown by a few pictures of them exercising, they participate in their kids’ sports and volunteer as their son’s Boy Scout Den leader. Who do you think will get the interview and then the job?

So maybe you don’t do all of that? It’s okay! Just by being more proactive and ‘visible’ can be beneficial. (As long as it is not a tagged picture of you overdoing it on a Friday or Saturday night with your friends…)

Personal branding takes time… but the time is well-worth it. It allows you to develop your own authentic voice. When you find your voice, people start responding and this ultimately builds your confidence and self-esteem and allows you to truly find yourself in a meaningful way!

The goal of personal branding, especially as a Veteran, is not to be perfect. Instead, you should start to strive to be consistent in all of your interactions. Remain authentic and relevant. Your reputation is one of the most important assets you have in a military to civilian transition.

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