The publishing of our first installment of the Mailbag generated even more cards and letters, many of which seemed preoccupied with personal brands. So, with our work cut out for us, we dive once more unto the breach.
I have a recurring dream. In it, I meet a witch who conjures a spell and turns me into a duck. I don’t find being a duck especially unpleasant. In fact, the notion of being a feathered fowl doesn’t disturb my sleep a wink. But I do wonder if my transmogrification will in any way affect my personal brand. Should I be concerned?
Dear Daffy: As long as your status as semi-aquatic, avian game is confined to your dream-state, you have no reasons for disquietude. However, if you aspire to longevity for your personal brand, we have some specific suggestions: Stay out of French restaurants. Avoid recreational activities on lakes or ponds and in any marshy areas. Beware of any seemingly undue interest in your liver. If you hear people expressing predilections for down, don’t presume they’re referring to the opposite of up. Most important, avoid, at all costs and in every way, anyone resembling Elmer Fudd.
Tattoos are kind of like logos, right? I mean, if you have a tattoo, it’s kind of like you’ve put a logo on yourself or something, ya know? So, I’m thinking about starting a business selling motorcycle apparel; and I want to get a skull and crossbones tattooed on my face. Do you think this is an appropriate reflection of my personal brand?
Dear Inky: Judging from your question, to say nothing of your professional aspirations, this is a perfectly appropriate reflection of your personal brand. In all likelihood, you’ll never be a candidate for public office, a position at IBM, or the priesthood. Presuming your business is a success — and/or that you become a charter member of the Hell’s Angels — you’ll be just fine. As an added bonus, your Mom will be very proud of her over-achieving son. Oh, one more thing: If you happen to receive one of those direct-mail membership solicitations that have recently been distributed by Mensa International, don’t forget to recycle.
Is my résumé the same as my personal brand? I’m wondering because my résumé says this, in part: “I’m an energetic self-starter who’s motivated to excel in all aspects of tireless task-completion. A passionate high-performer, I’m also an indefatigable team-player, an unrelentingly collaborative colleague, a restlessly persistent free agent, and an unwearyingly enthusiastic self-promoter.” I haven’t been able to find a job in five years, in part because reading my résumé leaves me positively exhausted. Should I consider changing my personal brand? My résumé? Both?
Dear Pooped: We apologize for the late reply. After reading the excerpt from your résumé, we had to take a nap. To answer your question, no. Your résumé is not your personal brand, per se. But it is a pretty good indication of it. Presuming a prospective employer would find your résumé even marginally plausible (don’t get your hopes up), at least one of the following three things is probably true: (1) You’re putting a wee bit too much pressure on yourself. (2) You’re a serial embellisher. (3) You’re a loon. If it’s #2 or #3, you can look forward to continued unemployment, notwithstanding the comment made by David Hannum: there’s a sucker born every minute. With any luck, though, it’s #1. If so, try decaf.