5 Personal Branding Hacks for the New Year

An airman salutes the U.S. flag.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer, 435th Air Expeditionary Wing photojournalist, salutes the flag at Camp Simba, Kenya, Aug. 26, 2019. (Lexie West/U.S. Air Force photo)

If you're like me, then you find that the end of a calendar year seems to come faster and faster these days. All the plans, goals, objectives and processes we start off the year with seem ancient by the end of December.

When thinking about your personal brand, the end of a calendar year can be a benchmarking opportunity to help you assess progress toward goals.

As we wind up the year, here are personal branding hacks to ensure you start off your new year fresh and focused:

Take Stock of This Past Year.

Were you consistent in your behavior and action? Did you meet new contacts (during your separation process, at job fairs, during an internship) who add value to your network? Did you update your style to reflect your desired image? Were you active on social media, or did you just get started?

Inventory What Worked.

To what can you attribute specific, tangible and positive results? If you became more focused and intentional in your social networking, did that lead to more in-person meetings, and then more job interviews?

Perhaps you tried to focus more on listening and learning. Did that help other people view you as less self-absorbed and more curious?

Maybe you took action to correct negative feedback you'd received in the past. What were the results? Consider whether the time is right to circle back to the people who offered that feedback, to see if they noticed an improvement in your behavior or reputation.

Learn from What Didn't Work.

As you build your personal brand, it's important to learn from the missteps, as well as the successes. For instance, perhaps you tried a new behavior or action that felt outside your comfort zone, even when intellectually it seemed prudent. Maybe you tried to inject more humor into your job interviews, and the jokes repeatedly fell flat.

If the behavior didn't yield results, it was likely not helpful for you.

Similarly, perhaps you tried to network with a new audience where it felt unnatural and uncomfortable? If the results weren't what you wanted, consider whether to continue or abandon this strategy.

Remember to Build Credibility.

In order to be known for something (where you've earned credibility, not just visibility), you must articulate your values, then act accordingly. (Values + action = credibility.) Make sure the people around you know what you believe in, would fight for and value. The formula doesn't work without that step.


It sounds contrived, I'm sure, but the power of attraction really works when you help others. When you give, share, provide and help other people, you are rewarded with abundance. Generosity and gratitude produce results beyond what we can imagine.

I am often asked what trait I find most in common with my successful senior executive clients: Generosity. Not necessarily "philanthropy" or charity work, but a true commitment to give some away, knowing that the rewards are so much greater. When you give, you get, they tell me.

Every new year is an opportunity to improve your life. I hope you can look forward to this next chapter in your life -- your civilian career -- as a beginning. Whether you've transitioned out of the military in the past three months or three years, you can start now to build the career you have earned and deserve.

Thank you for your service to our great nation.

Find the Right Veteran Job

Whether you want to polish your resume, find veteran job fairs in your area or connect with employers looking to hire veterans, Military.com can help. Sign up for a free Military.com membership to have job postings, guides and advice, and more delivered directly to your inbox.

Story Continues