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Your personal brand: Be who you are

I had the opportunity this week to see Robin Roberts from Good Morning America address the Society for Human Resources national conference and came away truly inspired. Robin Roberts is an impressive person. Starting out loving sports but knowing she could not stay in it forever, she sought ways to be involved including working at a local radio station during college. They were happy to allow her to do the reporting as long as she doubled on weekends as a DJ and they were a country music station. Undaunted, Robin was a DJ for country music which she enjoys thoroughly to this day.

Robin Roberts
Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images

But those weren’t the only pearls of wisdom shared with this group of almost fourteen thousand people. She told us to dream big, but to be careful because Momma used to say “if you strut, you stumble”. Good advice no matter what your walking style is. Robin is well known for her two experiences with cancer, first in 2007 for breast cancer which she was able to surmount. Then in 2012 she faced another setback with a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare form of bone marrow cancer. Robin took a leave of absence from Good Morning America, yet even in the midst of her turmoil, she took the opportunity to enlighten the world about the condition and the search for a donor publicizing the Be the Match Registry on the program for which she won a Peabody Award. She truly lives by her mother’s mantra: “make your mess your message”.

Robin’s recent co-authored book, Everybody’s Got Something (Grand Central Publishing, 2014) focuses on the fact that everyone struggles with some setback. That is exactly what your personal brand is about: focusing on the solution, not the problem. “You never know what others are going through. Maybe they are having a really bad day.” That’s something to consider when you’re going through that tough interview; you don’t know the pressure the recruiter might be under to fill the position, or what directives the hiring manager may have been given.

Perhaps the best advice Robin Roberts gave the group was not to be afraid to be who they really are. We are each one of us unique. Just as we’ve often spoken about not making your resume a jumble of buzz words, make sure you are allowing the real ‘you’ to come through during that interview or on that LinkedIn profile. It’s you the individual that they are going to hire, not just you the list of experiences, jobs and education. Let your own incomparable authenticity shine through. That’s the essence of your personal brand.

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