Recap (February 14, 2019) — Making Employers Fall in Love with Your Resume with Ross Macpherson

Thank you for the excellent questions during Thursday’s webcast with Ross Macpherson on resumes. If you missed the interview, you can view/listen to the recording below:

I appreciated Ross’ perspective on branding and resumes. One takeaway for me is that your resume is about “who you help and how you help them.”

An important clarification he raised is that you should not list “MBA” next to your name if you have not graduated. Doing so is falsifying information. You can list “MBA” in your Education with your expected graduation date.

Ross had an in-depth answer for the question about the amount of technical vs. MBA skills to list in a resume. For me, it is about relevant skills. At the end of the day, you need to ask what are the most relevant skills to the job to which you are applying.

Ross offered 3 ways to quantify your accomplishments:

  • Actual result or who benefited (usually the company) and how
  • Context or scope
  • What was it like when you started and what was it like when your task/project ended

IMPORTANT: Be truthful about your accomplishment. You need to be able to stand behind your claim and be able to explain how your achieved your results.

If you have not watched Ross’ videos on Beyond B-School, I strongly encourage you to do so. Ross offers lots of thorough in-depth advice. (If you have difficulty accessing the last four resources, you will first need to set up an account or log into your account at Please use your e-mail address to set up your account. Once you’ve logged in, you can use the links below to access the resources.)

If you have more questions for Ross, you can find him at

Before we ended our webcast, we had a question about whether having a “bare bones LinkedIn profile” was affecting their job search. We will address the question on March 28 when we interview Hannah Morgan about LinkedIn. Please join us.

In the meantime, if you are interested in subscribing to our monthly newsletter, please go to and click on the SUBSCRIBE button that you’ll see on the left hand side of the page.

For upcoming events, please bookmark and follow our blog. See you at our next event on February 28 when I speak with Esther Choy and Reena Kansal about communicating your value through effective storytelling.


Recap (January 31, 2019) – Personal Branding: Why You Need One and How to Go About Building One (Part 2)

Here are Michael’s responses to questions from the chatroom that we did not get to during our interview. Please let me know if you have follow up questions.

How is personal branding role specific?

Personal branding is YOU specific. When you’re fulfilling a certain role, you only release the pieces of your personal brand that are required for that role. Your brand shouldn’t change often. It will evolve over time as your skills, talents, and experiences allow you to express deeper parts of yourself in new ways, but most of what makes you authentic will remain the same.

Is personal branding similar to writing what you would write in your resume where you try to sell yourself to a potential employer?  Is there any room in personal branding to discuss your weaknesses or is it all about selling your strengths?  I always feel like there’s never enough emphasis placed on where we fall short as professionals – it’s all about knowing strengths and weaknesses.

Yes, your personal brand statement could be utilized at the top of a resume, in LinkedIn’s summary, and in your bio. In my definition of a personal brand, there is room for the areas you’re purposely developing. But, you wouldn’t write your weaknesses down and use them to sell yourself. I would suggest only sharing the areas you’re working to develop when you’re asked to (in interviews, with a hiring manager, etc.), with accountability partners, and your personal board of directors. It takes a truly humble, knowledgeable, and emotionally intelligent person to openly share what he or she is working to be better at. I encourage you to display your vulnerabilities, but do so in a way that adds credibility to your brand.

How do you maintain a personal brand when you don’t have a lot of “brand assets”? — when your career hits a dead end, when your company is unheard of, etc. How do you embody a positive, intriguing brand when you’re a bit stuck?

Your personal brand is an aggregation of your (1) communication profile, (2) motivators, (3) values, (4) strengths, and (5) life’s experiences. When you find the themes in these five “assets”, you can write a personal mission, 3-year goals, and a 3-5 sentence brand statement that will sell you without recent career wins. You may also consider creating wins through volunteering with your favorite nonprofit, joining a professional association and helping them with projects, offering your skills complimentary to a small business in exchange for a recommendation, reaching out to your networking and collecting as many LinkedIn recommendations as possible, or launching your own website explaining more about you. More importantly, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Even if they appear to be successful, I promise you they’re going through challenging things they’re unwilling to share. This temporary slow time in your life is preparing you for something bigger than you can currently comprehend.

We recently had a survey asking group members to rate other person on 1. how easy to work with this person? 2. Does this person respond quickly to requests? 3. Is this person easy to get engaged to solve issues? 4. Dose this person always deliver on commitments?  Wondering do those questions connect to personal branding?

I see this as being linked to one component of a person’s brand. I believe it’s most closely connected to someone’s thinking, behavioral, and communication preferences (#1 in my answer to the previous question), but not strongly correlated to their personal mission or goals.

What is the role of color in a personal brand?

I dive into this topic on the third episode of my podcast, listen to it here. Consider reading this website for another look at how color affects human decision making. After you’ve uncovered your personal values and written your mission, it’d be fun to look at the meaning of different colors and choose two that most closely correlate with how you want people to know you. Can you find ways to infuse those colors into your wardrobe, resume, LinkedIn, website, business cards, social media posts, etc. The more you use the color, the more people around you associate you with the meaning of that color.

How do you (can you) tie your brand to your company/team brand?

Do your core values align with the company’s values? Is your personal mission somehow connected to the organization’s mission? Is your personal brand similar to the organization’s value proposition? If yes, find ways to openly talk about the connection. Draw the connection via posts on social media. Write blogs that talk about why you love working for the employer. Wear clothing with the organization’s logo. Join a board of directors and tell others why your mission aligns with the nonprofit’s mission. Host a dinner series and invite like-minded people to the dinner. As much as possible, talk about it in person and online. The connection between your and the organization’s brand will grow quickly.

I always struggle with polarities and the need to categorize us. This is one of the things that I find most difficult in branding. Everyone wants to put you in a box and identify you with… when our real talent is about synthesizing—and in multiple contexts.

I feel the same. Differences should be celebrated, not hidden or categorized. Thankfully, the voices of the people who loved to place other people in boxes are rapidly shrinking. They’re being replaced by the emotionally-developed people who see how diversity creates balanced, stronger, engaged, and more productive teams. If you follow the process in my answer to question #3 above, it’ll be awfully difficult for anyone to place you in a box. I think it’s impossible for any other person to have your communication profile, motivators, values, strengths, and life’s experiences. The more you share this uniqueness, the less they can place you in a box.

Recap (January 31, 2019) – Personal Branding: Why You Need One and How to Go About Building One (Part 1)

Our guest on Jan. 31 was Michael Seaver, a leadership and executive coach based in Arizona. You can find the full video recording here. If you would like to listen to the audio recording only, you can listen to our interview here.

Before we started the webcast recording, some of us started talking about chronotypes. Below is the page I held up on the screen camera. You can find the web link to that story here.


According to Michael, our personal brand incorporates our values, motivators, experiences, and strengths. They come together as patterns that exist through how we live our lives. It is the 3-5 things that make us unique. We then express our personal brand through the work we do, how we conduct ourselves, the color(s) we choose, our body language, what we choose to say in our resume, LinkedIn profile, executive biography, interview, and even when we are out networking. We have to consciously use that same language repeatedly; if it is not utilized—whether on paper or in electronic format—then it is hard for others to understand what is true to us. In other words, our personal brand is expressed both verbally and non-verbally; and it has to be expressed in a consistent manner.


When Michael works with clients on developing their personal brand, he begins the process by having his clients complete a behavioral profile using the DiSC assessment. He then works with them to identify their motivators and value structure. Once he has compiled that information, his clients draft three guiding statements: an intention statement (similar to a mission statement), an ambition statement (goals, vision), and finally their value proposition, which becomes the foundation for their personal brand.


All of us should develop a personal brand, including introverts. All of us, including introverts, should focus on the alignment between thought, mission, what it is that we are and our actions. The greater the congruence and consistency in those aspects of our life, the easier it will be for people to know us for our brand. Introverts can share their brand (this is typically with smaller groups of people) by producing content, for instance, by writing a blog or posting on Instagram. Introverts can also demonstrate their brand within organizations by getting small groups of people together to make sure that those in the group are moving towards a common goal. Additionally, introverts can showcase their brand by getting involved in non-profit organizations within their community.


Job search and career advancement aside, personal branding is also relevant from a job satisfaction standpoint. In a 2017 study of the global workforce, Gallup found that only 13% of the global workforce were engaged. In other words, 87% were disengaged or actively working against their organization. As organizations, this is a huge loss of productivity. As individuals, it means that 87% of the global workforce were working in environments in which they are not satisfied. If we do not know what it is that we want (including the type of environment in which we will be our best) or if we cannot articulate the value that we bring to an organization/team, it will be challenging for us to proactively engage in and be satisfied with the work that we do.


If you would like to work directly with Michael on developing your brand—whether for your job search or career advancement—you can find him at To sign up for Michael’s newsletters, visit For those in the US, you can text the word “discovery” to 66866.


As iMBA and iMSA students you also have free access to Beyond B-School, including their videos on personal branding:

* If you encounter difficulties accessing these videos, go to Beyond B-School first before clicking on the links above.

** To access these videos, go to Register for an account using your e-mail address. Follow the instructions to set up your password and then log in. Note that the password you set expires every two weeks, so you may need to re-set your password after that.


As an Illinois student, you have access to content on To access, go to and sign in using your Illinois NetID (the portion before and password. Once you are logged in, you can access the videos accordingly. However, you must first log in through Illinois.


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For upcoming events, please bookmark and follow our blog. See you at our next event on February 14 when I speak with Ross Macpherson, expert resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile writer.