Are you positioned for success this year? If you're like most people, you're hoping for the best in 2017. You're hoping all will go well. But it's wise to have a contingency plan in place if things do not. That's where building your personal brand can be really helpful. You've seen and heard so much about personal branding. You know it's something you should do. But getting started can be a challenge, right? It's hard to know where to begin.

Here are two simple and effective steps to build your personal brand in 2017.

Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is an excellent starting point for your personal brand. LinkedIn is the best-known social platform for businesses and professionals. It will be one of the first destinations visited by friends, colleagues, recruiters, and hiring managers, so be sure to watch for typos as you would on a paper resume. You already know the importance of having a professional, high-resolution headshot cropped to the correct proportions (500 x 500 pixels-200 x 200 pixels minimum). If you don't have a good headshot, here are seven simple LinkedIn photo tricks to get great one using nothing more than your smartphone.

Use the headline space to get descriptive about what your passionate about. Stay away from vague generalities and non-descriptors like, "looking for work in the energy field." Use the headline space to give more detail about what they do and are passionate about. A Manhattan recruiter's headline might read, "I connect people with their dream jobs | Talent Professional | Speaker | Career Coach | NYC Promoter."

Former Fortune 500 HR SVP Liz Ryan writes of Angie, an out-of-work office manager, who used the following LinkedIn headline to differentiate her brand and describe the particular way she sees her responsibilities:

Office Manager/Business Air-Traffic Controller ISO Stressed-Out CEO to Make Sane

Ryan concludes, "Angie wanted the world to know how she does her job --- to her, it's air-traffic control. She loves to help a crazed CEO organize his or her day and projects. Angie got calls from recruiters the minute she updated her headline. (ISO is an acronym for In Search Of.)" (1)

Now, set your personal brand apart by adding a background photo (between 1000-by-425 pixels and 4000-by-4000 pixels). Use this background image to fill in the narrative about yourself. Get creative. If you love to hike or climb mountains find a suitable photo of the outdoors. If you love your workplace, picture your workspace or the enjoyable view from your office window. Graphic designers and other creatives can use a spectrum of colored pencils, or something abstract like ocean waves or water bubbles.

You'll be tempted to grab a photo from Google images, but most photos on the internet are protected by copyright. If you do search online, look for photos offered for free under a Creative Commons license (CC0). Two sites we love include Unsplash and Snapwire, both of whom offer a free subscription to photos you can use, delivered to your inbox each week.

Make good use of skill endorsements and recommendations. Your LinkedIn profile functions as a kind of public website now. Skill endorsements and recommendations from colleagues, clients, and former bosses are an essential part of your LinkedIn profile can go long way toward building your personal brand. Take the time to be active on LinkedIn, connect with as many of your colleagues as possible. Endorse and recommend those who've done right by you. Many will return the favor.

Perform A Personal Content Audit
Rebecca Lieb of Marketing Land says personal branding can be thought of as a type of content marketing, where you're building a content strategy for yourself, rather than an organization, product, or service.

This begins with a personal content audit of social channels and what the content there says about you. LinkedIn is a given for business professionals, as previously mentioned, but don't rule out larger social platforms like Facebook either, especially when it comes to comments and reactions you've made on public Facebook pages.

"What types of content are on what channels and platforms? How does it represent you, both as a person and professionally? Is it clean, with a minimum of typos and spelling mistakes? A personal content strategy must strike the often delicate balance between who a person is, professionally, and what that person is like --- often revealed on more personal social platforms."

It goes without saying that overly personal or salacious material belongs on an account that's not under your real name, shared with close friends but not the world at large. What's too personal? What kind of content crosses the line? It's a judgment call. A musician will have boundaries that differ from a banker's." (2)

What Are You Searching For?
Let us apply our considerable skills and experience for you. If you've worked with Victoria James Executive Search before, you already know how we provide strategic value for our job seekers and HR talent professionals.

All Victoria James Executive Search recruiters have a proven track record of senior-level placements at Fortune 500 firms as well as start-ups.

Victoria James
Victoria James Executive Search, Inc.
Call: 203-750-8838

What topics interest you? What subjects would you like us to explore? Contact us and we'll do our best to make sure the topics that interest you most are examined in depth at Your opinion matters - contact me today!
Smile! We leave with the following superb job-interviewing tip guaranteed to land your next job with style from the folks over at The Poke in the UK (try these at your own risk ):
Remember, every question is a test. So when they ask, "How are you?" you should reply, "Goal-oriented, thank you."


1. Ryan, Liz. How To Write A Killer LinkedIn Headline. Forbes. April 10, 2015 (Accessed Jan. 23, 2017):

2. Lieb, Rebecca. Content Marketing and Personal Branding Go Hand IN Hand. MarketingLand, March 15, 2016 (Accessed Jan. 23, 2017).

What Are You Searching For?
Start 2017 off right with a new job! We are currently  seeking talented, experienced professionals for these, plus many other great opportunities: