Project: Goals for your eMe

Your brand

You want to create a link in peoples’ minds between your name and some positive attributes. So that when a potential client or a job interviewer meets you, they have those things in mind.

Let’s be clear. I’m not talking about a false image. Don’t say you’re a good team leader if you aren’t. Even if you think you are, don’t say it unless you have evidence.

The goal is not to tell people what they want to hear. The goal is to tell them who you are. It’s about clear communication. You don’t want your good attributes to be forgotten.

Here’s more stuff on personal brands:

There are magazines with good information on personal branding and other stuff.

An example

Erica Zucco has done a good job on her personal branding site. Go and have a look at her site now. Then we’ll talk about it.

Do do doo do-do do do doo.
Do do do do doo
Do – do do do do.
Do do do do-do do do do,
Do – do do do do – do – do.

OK, you’re back. Let’s talk about some of the things Erica has done to create her brand.

Erica has a clear view of herself. She knows what she’s interested in, and communicates that well. She doesn’t say, “I can do everything.” Instead, she picks a focus, and gives evidence that she is skilled at that.

Her blog shows that she thinks deeply about things like social media. It also gives you a sample of her writing style.

Her contact information is splattered all over the place.

About the theme – graphics, colors, fonts and such. Erica didn’t build it from scratch. She started with a theme that someone else had created.


What does this site do for Erica?


First, the site can help her career. As I’m writing this, Erica’s not looking for a job, as far as I know. But if she wants to find a new job in the future, she already has a good site to help her. She won’t be starting from scratch.

Erica’s site also helps her build her professional network. People (like me!) are talking about the site and her work.

In fact, Erica’s site can help jobs find her, even if she’s not looking. If I wanted to hire a journalist, I might contact her, even if she didn’t apply for the job.

Your eMe can help you in the same way. It can:

  • Help you get a job, or clients for your business.
  • Be the base for future job searches.
  • Build your professional contacts.
  • Help better jobs find you.

But it’s not all about jobs. Erica’s site does other things as well.


Her site lets Erica use skills she’s mastered. Not just tech skills. Also writing, photography, and video.

People like to use skills they’ve learned. You can do that on your eMe. Not just to show off. Because… well, it’s just cool.


Erica controls what she puts on her site. It’s not about what her employer thinks. It’s about what she thinks. It’s totally up to her.

Same with your eMe. You get to decide. What a goth site? OK, do that. What to put your poetry out there? Go ahead. Like country and western music? Maybe you want a country and western site. Your choice.


Erica writes about things that matter to her. For example, she writes:

Information is so important people are willing to die to express it and to kill to suppress it.

Free journalism is important to her. She uses her Web site to say why.

You can do the same. It doesn’t have to be big issues. You can write about people who’ve influenced you. Why you live as you do. We all have lessons we can share.

Learn more about mastery, autonomy, and purpose in Daniel Pink’s book, Drive.

How to craft your brand

Here’s one way to decide on your brand messages. It’s not the only way, but it’s a place to start.


First, decide on a few eMe keywords. They summarize the way you want to present yourself.

You can combine professional and personal interests. Take Emma Jane Hogbin, for example. She makes her living with Drupal, the software I use for CoreDogs. She writes training material about theming (how Drupal looks to users). She speaks about Drupal as well. Her professional keywords might be Drupal, theming training, writing, and speaking.

Emma Jane is also into crafts. She’s participates in Canadian politics as well. So add the keywords crafts and politics.

Look at her site. You’ll see these keywords at work.

Exercise: Other peoples' keywords

Find at least five personal Web sites, eMe-like things. They should not belong to people you know personally. Write down a short list of keywords for those sites.

If you can’t think of anyone, Google an interest of yours. I might Google “Drupal” or “Web design.”

Enter your results below. Enter the URL of each site, and its keywords.

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OK, you’ve seen other peoples’ keywords. Time for your own.

When you’re making your keywords, keep in mind who you are making the site for. If you’re looking for a job, you want your site to appeal to employers. You might include keywords about:

  • The skills you have – including Web tech!
  • How you communicate. For example, you might be a confident presenter.
  • What you are like to work with. Maybe you work well on a team. Perhaps you work well independently.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. Focus on your strengths.

Exercise: eMe keywords

Enter a list of keywords for your eMe site.

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Now you’ve got some keywords. What evidence can you present to support them?

Erica Zucco claims skills in journalism. Does she give evidence? Yes! Her site has lots of it.

Emma Jane says she has Drupal skills. Is there evidence? Yes. Her site has tons of it.

I suggested you tell potential employers about three things. Let’s talk about evidence.

  • What skills you have.

List courses you’ve taken, jobs you’ve had, projects you’ve done. Include a work portfolio, with papers you’ve written, Web sites you’ve made, etc.

A work portfolio is great for personal branding. If you don’t have a portfolio, start one. Make a directory on your server, and start uploading stuff. Scan paper things into your computer if you need to.

  • How you communicate.

Include writing samples. If you can, include video of yourself giving a presentation.

Some of this is about image. Do you know what “business casual” means? (If you don’t, look it up.)

Have photos of yourself dressed professionally, and in business casual. If you don’t have any, ask a friend to shoot some. If you have reference letters that talk about your image, include them. If you won a best-in-breed blue ribbon, include a photo – with you holding it up and smiling.

  • What you are like to work with.

List jobs you’ve had. Teams you’ve worked with. Say what other people have said about working with you.

If you don’t have evidence, don’t make it up. If you’re just graduating from college, maybe you don’t have much experience working in teams. That’s OK. But you might say that you want to learn – if that’s true.

There’s also the likability factor. Most of us like active, positive people, rather than old, doomy skeptics like me. Show the fun side of yourself.

An online quiz about you can be helpful. Create questions that help people learn about your accomplishments, and who you are as a person. Some people love taking quizzes.

Exercise: eMe keyword evidence

For each eMe keyword, list the evidence you will put on your site. Enter the keywords and evidence below.

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What now?

Now you know what information your site should have. Let’s see how you create a framework for your eMe.