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Lida Citroën, Author, Personal Branding & Reputation Management Expert Sits Down with Jean South, CEO, Hire Served

This article originally appeared on AmericanGrit.com. See below for link to full article. 

I recently sat down with Lida Citroën, Personal Branding and Reputation Management expert, at her home in Denver. We chatted about personal branding — what it is and isn’t, about the veteran transition to the private sector, and about her new book, “Engaging with Veteran Talent,” which she wrote as a guidebook for anyone in a company interested in understanding how to hire and grow veteran talent, or a company which already has a veteran initiative they want to take to the next level. 

Here’s a snippet of our conversation:

Me: Lida, I know that when I left government service I had no idea about personal branding. Can you explain what it is and why it matters?

Lida: Personal branding is giving each person who interacts with others the ability to influence the way they are perceived. We’ve all heard it said that perception is reality, and, like it or not, that is accurate. Instead of leaving it to chance that others will see you as you want to be seen, I teach my clients to make sure their actions, behavior, and online presence match up with the person they want to be. 

Me: Then what is reputation management? It sounds a lot like damage control to me.

Lida: That’s a common misconception. However, reputation management is actually a part of your personal branding strategy. Your reputation is the part of your personal brand that precedes you — it’s not simply how others experience you, but what they tell others about you. Managing your personal brand, therefore, extends to managing your reputation. 

Me: Excellent! Now that we have that clear, let’s talk about personal branding for veterans in transition. First, I know that you are a civilian and don’t have immediate family members who have served. What led you to write a book on personal branding for veterans?

Lida: During a Denver Broncos game halftime, I learned of the challenges veterans face getting jobs in the private sector. I recognized that personal branding could help solve that problem and I had knowledge I could share with those who have served our nation to ensure my freedom. This is my way of giving back and saying, “thank you” to them for that service.

Me: What is one of the challenges you see for veterans applying for private sector jobs?

Lida: It’s the “I versus we” challenge. Veterans don’t know how to articulate their individual value proposition because their entire military history they’ve been taught that success is not an individual accomplishment. They’ve learned to pass credit to those who serve with them. This becomes a problem when sitting in front of a civilian hiring manager. The hiring managers need veterans to sell themselves. But veterans feel that if they sell themselves they are being disloyal to those they served with. My goal is to teach veterans how to articulate what makes them valuable to their interviewers.