Talent acquisition professional, HR podcaster and blogger Wendy Dailey (she/her) joins host Rhonda Taylor to chat about developing your ‘personal brand’ and how you can manage it. They delve into using social media to build an authentic personal brand that represents you and your voice.
A lover of the power of social media (especially Twitter) Wendy also shares her views for job seekers around having an online presence and using your virtual networks to help when making big career changes.
Here’s how the conversation went… This interview has been edited and condensed.
Rhonda Taylor: Hi Wendy, first off what are your pronouns?
Wendy Dailey: My pronouns are she, her and hers. I always like to share how I identify as well, because I think it’s important for people to know how I see the world and how I think the world sees me. So I am white, straight, cisgender, Christian and non-disabled.
Rhonda Taylor: Regarding the non-disabled, that’s the description side of it all? You mentioned that you’re comfortable providing that insight because so many times people aren’t comfortable asking you those questions. You’re not usually supposed to ask, but we tell – why?
Wendy Dailey: To make people comfortable to ask, that’s the main thing. In the working world lately the big thing is bring your authentic self to work, which really isn’t true. If we’re going to bring our authentic self to work though we need to be able to share with people how we want you to be seen by people. By sharing how I identify including my pronouns, if I share it makes it comfortable for other people to share.
We were joking about how you’re not supposed to ask and it’s rude to ask somebody what their pronouns are but we actually should get more comfortable with asking those questions so that we don’t miss identify somebody unintentionally. How much worse is that than not being rude? It’s right up there with continuing to mispronounce somebody’s name. Misidentifying them, that’s more rude in my mind. So we need to be comfortable sharing it and asking those questions from the very beginning.
For so many years we’ve just made assumptions. For some reason we’ve gone to assuming ill intent with people instead we need to be okay asking. For example we need to start assuming good intent when people are using a disability parking spot and they might not look a certain way. They might not look like they need it but we don’t know what’s going on inside someone else and so we need to stop making those assumptions.
Rhonda Taylor: I wanted to talk about personal brand. In today’s world, we all have a brand. Some of us may say, ‘No, I don’t have a brand.’ But we do, whether you want it or not. What are some of the things that people put in and do to create a personal brand?
Wendy Dailey: I think beyond creating one, because you’ve got one, it’s more around managing who you are. I think that really goes back to recruitment and talent acquisition, because you have your resume, which tells people about you, tells them what you want to know about them. When you fill out an application you tell the employer what you want them to know about you and so you can go back to what are you putting in your resume? What are you putting out on your LinkedIn profile? What does that say about who you are as a potential employee and potential connection? What do you bring to the equation?
I think some people think ‘brand’ and they think it’s so much work and I’ve got to do all this stuff and do I need a logo? All of these different things. When you think about branding, it’s really just telling your story and in a way that is true to who you are and using your own voice. I love social media because people are able to be themselves or the brand that they want to be out there. You get to know who’s authentic with their brand and who has a persona.
Rhonda Taylor: Touching on social media. LinkedIn profiles are very structured almost sterile, a bit like the resume. If I really want to know a person, I start diving into their social media activity, I start taking a look at articles that they have authored to find their authentic self. Do you check social media at all?
Wendy Dailey: I will. I’ll usually look for someone on Twitter first that’s my social media of choice. I’ll go out to look for people and people I’ve connected with either on LinkedIn or Twitter, that’s usually where I’m connecting with strangers. You can tell who’s real and who’s not. There are people who have different personas based on what social media they’re on which would be exhausting. If you’re saying one thing and sharing different articles that say something completely different we’re going to wonder who you really are.
Rhonda Taylor: What are the social media channels that employers take a look at when they’re checking people out?
Wendy Dailey: Obviously they go to LinkedIn. There are probably some that just do the Google search and search for somebody’s name. But I think every employer is going to do it a little bit differently. From an employer standpoint, you want to be consistent in what you’re looking at and who’s doing the looking. I would never recommend having your hiring managers just go out willy nilly looking for people, because you don’t know what they’re going to find and what they’re not going to share.
There are a lot of people out there who say be careful what you share, I personally am not going to say that because you want to be authentic to yourself. Share what you want to share but understand there can be consequences to what you share. Whatever you put out there is public and anyone can find it, whether they should or not.
It comes down to where you’re working and that sort of thing too. I think where we’re going with drug screens and that sort of thing is putting the onus onto people to say, when you’re coming into the office are you ready and prepared to work? If you’re not, then maybe we should send you home. South Dakota just legalized recreational marijuana, people are worried about what do we do now as employers. But it’s the same thing you always did. You don’t have to allow people to come to work high. Alcohol is legal and you don’t need to allow people to work when they’re drunk. The same applies for drugs. Are your employees ready to work and they understand they need to be ready to work when they come in the door?
Rhonda Taylor: Your personal brand is dynamic, it’s always changing so people need to be on top of it. Particularly now we’re re-skilling and upskilling constantly. What would your recommendation be to individuals in how to get that message across?
Wendy Dailey: If you are looking for that next opportunity, you might have been laid off. In the United States and I think Canada too this is a great time to be in a position where you’re going to switch careers. There’s a lot of grant money out there in the US for someone who can’t go back to the business you were in before. If your business goes down because of COVID etc. there’s money out there to help you go back to school and create a new career.
I think part of it is making sure people know that you’re open to that so that they can share opportunities with you. It’s a good idea to then share the good news when you get that opportunity to reskill or that you’re taking your career in a new direction too. At times I’ve considered if I need to take my career in a different direction. If I was to do that what are some of the steps that I’m going to take to get there? First thing is looking into what did other people do? Who is someone that I know that switched careers, that reskilled or rebranded themselves and did something new? You can do that on any social media platform, to adjust and change your brand and help people see where you’re headed. I think you need to be open to it and be okay asking for help.
Rhonda Taylor: That’s right, ask for help and that may be skills help or mental help, now’s the time. Wendy you’re in the talent acquisition space, we’re still seeing the resume. When I was young a resume was the total reflection of my personal brand, is it now?
Wendy Dailey: It should be. It should be a reflection of your personal brand. It should bring all of those different pieces and parts of yourself together to share it in one short page. It doesn’t have to be one page, but it should be concise and to the point of who you are. There are other places to share the details more in depth. That’s the beauty of LinkedIn, you can get into more depth and you can share deep details of a project you did or an article that you wrote that you don’t necessarily want to have on a resume.
Be as concise as you can be in the resume as that’s your short brand and then send them elsewhere. Send them to LinkedIn, send them to a blog, send them to your webpage if you have a web page, and keep track of those places so that you can continually shape your resume to where you want to go.
Rhonda Taylor: You really seem to enjoy what you’re doing, you’re passionate about HR Social Hour, you’re passionate about your job and you always have a smile on your face. How does Wendy do it?
Wendy Dailey: It’s taken me a long time to find joy in what I’m doing and I don’t believe the phrase ‘do something that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. But I believe that you can find some joy in what you’re doing and you can’t be afraid to step out and say this is what I’m going to do.
The podcast actually started because I wasn’t happy in my day job and it was something to give a little new life to me and human resources. I’ve been able, with John and I working together on that, the chat and HR WonderWoman and everything else has been able to bring some meaning into the day to day work. Now I’ve been able to flood it over into my day to day, I’m starting an internal podcast and so I’ve been able to make that journey. It’s never too late to find that joy.
We hope you enjoy listening to this episode of the TalentX Podcast with Wendy Dailey! Look forward to sharing more learning with you.