If You’re Gonna Punch, Mean It: A Personal Branding Lesson From America’s Next Top Model


If you didn’t see it, Angelea recently went home on America’s Next Top Model. Because she didn’t punch hard enough. Let me explain…

She opted to sing a feisty, punky, slightly angry song about being a tough girl. Despite her best attempts at fist pumping and head swinging, the judges said things like:

“It never registered”
“It was a little flat”
“You were blank”

Tyra showed her that she needed to really commit to the character with fierce, forceful moves and intensity in her eyes. In technical terms, she needed to align her brand.

You’re not throwing punches, but you might have brand alignment problems, too. Here are three ways to make sure you’re all synched up.

1. Show it. It’s not enough to say that you love working with people or have excellent computer skills. Your resume, cover letter and interview need to be peppered with specific examples that show off those characteristics. That’s why you should write in accomplishments and answer with stories.

2. Prove it. You’ve just shown an employer that you have writing skills with a story about that 20-page research paper from English Lit. Good job! Now go one step further and offer proof. Put a copy of the paper in a career portfolio.

3. Live it. This is where Angelea fell down. On paper, she was feisty; in person, she was flat. You need to be just as enthusiastic in person as you were on paper. Smile, let your eyes sparkle when you talk about a past experience you particularly loved, ask smart questions that show you’re interested.

Kelly Giles is a product manager and persuasion coach based in Durham, NC. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2009 with degrees in journalism and psychology, she used Twitter to find her first job as a social media strategist. She delights in any project at the intersection of marketing, design and psychology. You can often find her creating compelling user experiences, crafting psychologically and visually appealing cover letters, or helping her sales friends figure out how to get on their prospects’ radar screens.


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