January 12th, 2023

As a leader, your executive brand is the unspoken communication of the promise you’ll deliver with your unique value. It’s what others expect from you. Everyone has a personal brand, even if you haven’t intentionally been working to create one. Your brand is how others perceive you; it’s how they view you; it’s what you’re “best” at or known for.

Below, we share the critical elements and trends to keep top-of-mind as you develop your professional brand.

What to consider as you develop your executive brand

Your executive brand should:

  • Be unique to you
  • Feel authentic and natural
  • Highlight your skills and attributes
  • Share your personality with the reader
  • Resonate with your specific audience

Sharing your brand and who you are with the world can lead to career-transforming advances and confidence. When you hear of executives focusing on their personal brand, they’re decisively choosing how to present themselves and which attributes to emphasize. They’re attempting to steer the perception in a myriad of ways, from their speaking topics to what they post on LinkedIn.

They’re putting in the effort because branding pays off: it can lead to new opportunities, effortless networking, an increase in endorsements, and clarity on your career path forward. Even more important, a strong personal brand allows you to speak confidently about the value you offer and how you’re different from anyone else out there. In high-stakes moments, such as interviewing for C-suite positions or board seats, that confidence and conviction are invaluable.

You’ll share your brand through your executive bio, your resume/CV, your digital profiles (like LinkedIn), and your thought leadership. It should permeate every interaction – both in-person and digital – and become foundational to how you operate and present yourself.

Trends and best practices in executive branding

In today’s world, we’re overloaded with information and a barrage of digital interruptions. To stand apart from the masses, your professional documents must communicate your entire career story in a concise and minimalist format.

Here are a few trends we’ve noticed heading into 2023…

  • Appearances matter. Just like any first impression, your application materials should create an instant response from the reader. They must be professional and eye-catching, leveraging thoughtful and strategic design. In this case, design is not only about attractive colors and modern fonts; ensure the documents use space in a thoughtful manner and draw the reader’s attention to the most important elements, ensuring they’re easy to read.
  • Content is key. Your content should get to the point about your value and hold the reader’s hand. Readers shouldn’t have to dig; they shouldn’t have to re-read; and they shouldn’t have to decipher. In fact, assume your readers will not take the time to understand you – your professional documents should make your value crystal clear!
  • Use stories where they’re meaningful. Stories have the power to create connections and spark a lasting impression. It’s stories that will keep your reader engaged. Don’t be afraid to leverage stories where appropriate to draw your reader in.
  • Beware of applicant tracking systems. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are the new norm in the world of human resources and recruiting. It’s how companies organize and store vast numbers of resumes. If your resume is not ATS compatible, your documents (you!) are likely to get lost, as recruiters and others will not be able to search and “see” your documents.

How Athena supports leaders as they refine their executive brands

Athena helps members uproot the deep stories that are foundational to their executive brands and translate those stories to paper. We do it through our Branded Career Portfolio, a suite of professional documents (a resume, executive bio, and LinkedIn update) infused with your brand.

This portfolio is essential to illustrate your compelling career stories, convey your professional value, and empower you to stand out confidently, be competitive, and achieve your professional goals.

Athena is the executive development community where modern leaders reach their most ambitious career goals. Members can get started building their BCP here. Ready to join? Learn more about membership here.

This post is adapted from our Resume Best Practices guide. Click here to read more, including trends in resume design, content, storytelling, and more.



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