Personal branding: hypocritical or inspirational?

As someone who has a fairly loud personality, putting myself out there has never seemed difficult. Yet, somehow, when I have to market myself, I feel completely hypocritical and self-conceited. I’ve been working on a portfolio to hopefully get a job for the summer, and one of the things being impressed on me right now, is the importance of personal branding. I’ve never had to do anything like this before. And as someone who is trying to stray away from social media too, it seems even more taxing.

Like I said, I can be very loud and outgoing, but for me, that’s just my personality and way of life. It comes fairly naturally to me now (I wasn’t always the boisterous person, believe me) and I don’t really have to think about it. But when it comes to taking pictures, explaining my strengths, and actively putting out good PR about myself, it feels wrong.

There has to be some psychological reasoning behind this. Because even in this context, I feel strange putting my photos up here. The photos are supposed to give a small insight into my personality and image (hopefully that is the case) and yet, I find myself second-guessing myself. Which is the opposite of what personal-branding is about.

In a male-dominated field, the last thing I want, is to be hired for diversity quotas. My photo – clearly showing I’m female – isn’t supposed to be a “I’m a girl! Hire me!” kind of proclamation. Is personal branding really supposed to state the obvious? Or is it showing the nuances of a person? And if so, does it really achieve all of the above?

The whole reason for a resume, a portfolio, a photo, etc is to show people who you are. I know for a fact, employers love seeing people’s faces, hobbies, and interests. They love seeing the person behind the job titles. And yet, here I am, debating if a photo is too personal to put into a portfolio. Who knows if these will ever go somewhere (ironic since they’re on the internet for ultimate posterity now), but only time will tell. Maybe I’ll become more brave in my pursuits and personal branding soon, but as of right now, it’s still an internal debate.