YOU … and the impressions you make on others … are the essence of your personal brand. Do you tend to smile or frown? Slump or stand confidently? Speak positively or negatively? Listen attentively or appear distracted? Do you have control over the impressions you make, or are you unaware of them?

I have carefully observed hundreds of job seekers over the past 11+ years at Executive Impact and most appeared to be unaware of how their attitude was affecting their personal brand. Those with great attitudes were instantly attractive, some even charismatic. Those with the worst attitudes appeared to be the most out of touch, kidding themselves … but not their audiences. A recent client with a great attitude landed a $170K job in 10 weeks, while another with a substandard attitude took 12 months to land a $40K job.

Perhaps you’ve earned an MBA or completed other notable education. Hopefully, your resume is loaded with killer experience and notable accomplishments that get reader attention. And, if you’ve done your homework, you have created an attractive LinkedIn profile that includes several glowing recommendations. All of these things can provide you a strong personal brand “on paper”.

After reviewing your written information, however, all potential employers will want to know one thing: Are you as good in person as you appear on paper?

No one gets hired without a job interview and your attitude can have a HUGE affect on how you are perceived in person. Most interviewers form a first impression within two minutes … some within five seconds! That’s why the first chapter in my career book, Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!), is devoted to this important topic. Here is an excerpt:

Remember the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Like it or not, your attitude will be evaluated, consciously or unconsciously, by most people you encounter. When you walk into your boss’ office, a meeting with peers, a restaurant for lunch, a networking meeting, or a job interview, your attitude must be top notch. Otherwise, it may require a thousand words to correct a negative first impression.

One simple way for you to evaluate your attitude is to choose a random point in your day to start monitoring your internal thoughts and external communications. Do this for 20 minutes or so, rating each of your internal thoughts and outward comments as positive or negative. Don’t cheat and claim many of them are neutral. Most are either postive or negative. Get real. Were they predominantly positive or negative?

Unless you are Mother Teresa’s sibling, your attitude is likely to need work and I assure you that diligent effort can pay big dividends. Here are some suggestions:

1. With your physician’s knowledge and pre-approval, begin or re-start a consistent exercise program that is appropriate for your current health condition and abilities. Get your endorphins flowing! Exercise naturally increases your positive brain chemistry.
2. Start noticing what you choose to consume with your ears and your eyes. Eliminate all negative television programs, newspaper articles, and radio programs. Substitute positive movies, books, audio books and music CD’s.
3. Start noticing what your friends, family members and co-workers are saying. Are they positive, constructive, etc? If so, hang with them. If not, make a concerted effort to reduce the time you spend with negative people.

Like it or not, many of your adult life circumstances are the direct result of your attitude and corresponding actions. A more constructive attitude will form the foundation upon which you build the fulfilling career and life you desire. It is my hope that this information will motivate you to honestly examine your attitude and conscientiously improve it, thus propelling yourself to the successes you desire. Be well.


Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).