Published: March 10, 2021 by Jillian Collins
Your professional reputation, also known as your “brand,” is the foundation of the essentials in career kits and in your long-term career development strategy. And because everyone forms an opinion of us during any interaction we have, it’s not like we can just decide to ignore all this brand stuff. Better to take charge of how others see you to ensure they’re seeing the real you.
Personal Brand Assessment
How do you understand your existing brand? With the Personal Brand Assessment, or PBA! Based on the words of those who know you and have seen the things you may miss when thinking about yourself, a PBA will enable those who know you personally (and know the best of your personality) to help you understand how the world sees you.
Shout out to Scott Brown!
The Personal Brand Assessment exercise is covered in INFO 282 Marketing your LIS Skills in a Networked and Changing World. Taught by Scott Brown, this eye-opening activity shows how you made an impression on others. I gained a better perspective on how others may perceive me, as well as a boost in confidence and motivation.
The PBA Procedure
Here’s an overview of the PBA process:
- Who to reach out to. The people you can get the best feedback from are friends, former instructors you’ve stayed in contact with and worked with extensively, and co-workers or bosses (at least three or four individuals). I recommend reaching out via email (after having first created a word doc template explaining the exercise you can send to them if they agree to help. Be mindful of their time, as they would be of yours.
- The best of you. It’s natural to have this step seem a bit awkward (because asking for positive feedback can feel weird), but that’s exactly what you’re going to do: ask them to tell you what they think your best attributes are. You may need to cast a wide net, but make sure those you’re reaching out to know you fairly well and can provide feedback based on experience. And don’t worry about imposing; remember that people who’ve agreed to do this exercise with you genuinely want to help.
- Categories, not questions. You’re not asking questions. You’re asking the person to place objective and non-prompted responses (at least two) under the categories – explain in the document that this process is associating the honest, objective, positive qualities you may not necessarily see in yourself.
The reason this feedback is so valuable is that often the best in you is reflected in your interactions with others you respect and with whom you have a history of consistent interactions. They know you, and they’ll have a lot of great things to say!
The PBA Categories
The nature of the PBA is objective. In other words, rather than just asking for general impressions, the BPA organizes your participants’ feedback by four specific categories:
- Personal. Personality traits you have displayed and they associate you with. They’ve interacted with you and have been impressed by you on this level.
- Professional. Interactions that may just apply to bosses, co-workers, and academic instructors you’ve worked with.
- Values. The attributes you portray as values are evident in your actions and how you approach things. Sometimes we have a “code” we follow. These people have seen you demonstrate your values in your conduct. The conduct you portray is the impact you make every day.
- Strengths. At your best, at your worst, even when you don’t notice – there are excellent skills you have, and these people know them. Sometimes, it’s really hard to understand more than why you can do something right – context is everything. You may have strengths that seem so ordinary to you that you take them for granted, while those same characteristics have blown the socks off of the people you’re reaching out to. Remember, these are the people who have watched you take on the world like no other.
Together, these categories of feedback can work together to describe a set of positive characteristics that define how others see you – which is your brand. When you create a self-description for, say, your resume, LinkedIn summary, Handshake profile statement or even when preparing for an interview, you can feel confident in that description because it’s based on what others have said about you.
Why might their evaluation be different from your own self-assessment? Because the eyes of others see beyond what you see – and those people see that you are incredible.
Quick Jot from Jillian
When I did my own PBA, I reached out to people that I hoped would be able to share their authentic sense of who I am in the world, and I was able to have four incredible individuals help me. Their responses to my PBA gave me insight, including where I excel as a person.
Bit by bit, I noticed trends in the feedback I received. Traits that helped to sculpt a concrete, authentic, and confident personal brand.
I was able to see myself through the eyes of those I respect. Through that, I saw their respect for me. They know my best self well – and introduced her to me.
Selected Career Opportunities
Media Asset Librarian (Media Support Services). Mayo Clinic. Rochester, MN. Full – Time. Apply on Mayo Clinic website
Specialist (Metadata). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cultural Equity and Inclusion Project. Hollywood, CA. Full – Time. Apply on company website
Mark Your Calendar!
ASIS&T: What I Wish I Had Known hosted by SJSU ASIS&T student chapter
- Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2021
- Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Pacific Time)
- Location: register here to attend this Zoom event
SAASC: A Reel Look: The Collections of the UCLA Film & Television Archive hosted by SAASC and the UCLA Film & Television Archive
- Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
- Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Location: register here to attend this Zoom event