ATD Blog

What Every Learning Professional Should Know About Personal Branding

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Personal branding can be confusing. You may think personal branding isn’t useful and adds no value to your career. You work hard and it should be recognized . . . but that’s not always the case. Many professionals have harnessed the power of personal branding for career advancement while making the world a better place.

Personal Branding Is Intentional

Personal branding is about intentionally using the impact you have. When you know the type of image you’d like to project, this knowledge will help you guide your career decisions. Instead of taking on every project that comes your way, you’ll stop to examine which projects are in line with who you are and what you’d like to offer. Personal branding helps you simplify decision making. And if you’re in a role where you have to take on every project that comes your way, you can play to your strengths and identify key people in your company who can help you with other elements of the project.

People want to work with those they know, like, and trust. You start building your know, like, and trust factors when you connect with cohorts, colleagues, and customers on a rational and emotional level. That means personal branding is, well, personal.

Personal Branding Connects You With Your Target Audience


You must be willing to share part of your personal life to allow your ideal target audience (those who need to know about you) to relate to you, your thought leadership, and your subject matter.

For example, if you appreciate music, you may be able to relate that interest to your target audience’s goals, specialty, background, or experience. I share that I love live music, especially concerts; and, according to a study by Stanford University, music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions, and updating the event in memory. See what I did there? I tied music to its importance in learning and development. By relating your interests to your audience, you forge a stronger bond.

Keep Personal Branding Positive


Personal branding is about sharing but most of what you’re sharing should be positive. Negativity makes it harder for people to work with you. That’s why you want to stay upbeat with what you do share.

Personal Brands Evolve

As you advance your career and learn new strategies, your personal brand will evolve and grow. As you learn more about your audience and what they want, you should re-examine your personal brand to ensure it’s still serving you and your career goals.

Discover and unleash the power of your personal brand for career success on your terms with my upcoming LearnNow: Leverage Your Personal Brand to Propel Your Career. Learn more and register.

About the Author

Wendy Terwelp, founder of Opportunity Knocks of Wisconsin LLC and author of the Rock Your Network® series, was dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru,” by the Washington Post. Terwelp consults, speaks, and writes about social media, networking, branding, and career development for conferences, associations, and companies worldwide.

Her private executive coaching clients win raises, promotions, and jobs. Want to advance your career? Schedule a strategy session to discuss your career, goals, and next steps.

An award-winning career expert, Terwelp's advice and expertise are regularly quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Fast Company, Inc., The Chicago Tribune, The Business Journal,, Manage Smarter, Physicians Practice, CTDO (Chief Talent Development Officer) magazine, TD magazine, NBC, ABC, FOX, radio, and more. She served on the Association for Talent Development Program Advisory Committee and authored the ATD Infoline “Jumpstart Your Job Search and Get Hired Faster,” included in ATD's "Best on Career Development" anthology.

In addition to ATD's recognition, Wendy was named one of the Top 15 Career Masterminds (along with Richard Nelson Bolles author of "What Color is Your Parachute?"), JobMob's "Top Job Search Blog Posts" annually, Top 100 Twitter Accounts Job Seekers Must Follow, and Inc. Magazine's "Top 10 Career Helps."

Discover the strength of your personal brand with this free self-assessment:

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