William Arruda Career Thought Leader Headshot


With twenty years in the personal branding industry, William Arruda is a go-to, trusted source for all things personal and digital branding. Over the last two decades, he’s presented on the subject more than 2,000 times; written three personal branding books; and reached nearly two million people with his personal brand survey, 360°Reach. Accordingly, he’s been dubbed “the personal branding guru” by Entrepreneur and the “father of personal branding” by Inc.

In the early days of his career, Arruda worked in branding for large companies. It was neither his plan nor his expectation to become an entrepreneur, bestselling author, or motivational speaker. Then, he came across Tom Peters’ “The Brand Called You” and everything changed. This “now-iconic Fast Company article” sparked Arruda’s decision to “focus on the human side of branding” and start his own personal branding company – a dream that came to fruition with the launch of Reach Personal Branding in 2001. Since the conception of this ground-breaking organization, Arruda has inspired “millions of professionals to nix conformity and uncover their unique personal brand so they can deliver greater value to their company and have infinitely more fun at work.”

For Arruda’s recent insights on personal and digital branding, pick up a copy of his latest book, Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age. For a larger selection of his “thoughts on personal branding, leadership development, and social media,” see any of the publications that feature his work. These include Forbes (where Arruda is a Senior Contributor), Thrive Global, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. If watching videos is more your style, visit CareerBlast to interact with Arruda’s content. Co-founded by Arruda and executive coach Ora Shtull, this “personal branding plus platform” includes everything you need to “stand out and move up” in today’s competitive job market.

Specialty Areas


Highlighted Books

Arruda is the author of three acclaimed personal branding books: (1) Career Distinction, (2) Ditch. Dare. Do!, and (3) Digital YOU.

Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand (2007)

In Career Distinction, Arruda guides you through his three-step personal branding process. Learn how to build your reputation, live your brand, and position yourself for professional success and fulfillment from “the world’s leading authority on the topic of personal branding.”
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Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives (2013)

Intended for leaders and executives, this “GPS for executive success” is the ultimate guide to developing your personal brand. Within its pages, you’ll find 66 tips to help you modernize your mindset and “become influential, indispensable, and incredibly happy at work.”
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Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age (2019)

Digital YOU is a revolutionary guide to personal branding in today’s increasingly virtual world. Unearth your authentic brand and “align your bits-and-bytes brand with the flesh-and-bones you” with tips from Arruda's latest title.
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Highlighted Articles

Arruda writes on a range of topics in business, career management, and career development. His usual topics include personal branding, social media, and the newly popularized hybrid work environment. For more “cutting-edge personal branding techniques and career advice” from Arruda, see his articles in Thrive Global or browse his column in Forbes. Feel free to start with the articles below!



Coined Will-isms by his team, these are some of Arruda's favorite sayings to help people understand the personal branding process.

“You can’t spell brand without the letter ‘c.’ Strong brands are clear, consistent, and constant.”
“Your brand is held in the hearts and minds of those who know you.”
“Personal branding is permission to be yourself; your best self.”
“If you want to be outstanding, you need to be willing to stand out.”
“What have you done for your brand today?”

Highlighted Videos

Up until 2021, Arruda regularly created video content for both his YouTube channel and CareerBlast.TV,  a “personal branding plus platform” where he and co-founder Ora Shtull share their personal branding system in “bits, bytes, and blasts.” Though he hasn’t posted lately, many of his videos include personal branding insights that remain relevant in today’s competitive job market. Sample videos include:

How to Build Your Personal Brand: LinkedIn Tips and Tricks
Length: (2:09)
If you’re on LinkedIn, watch this short video! In it, Arruda explains why it is imperative for you to (1) pay close attention to the first three lines of your About section and (2) differentiate this section from your Headline.
How to Build Your Personal Brand - BrandBoost Questions
Length: (about 10:00 total)
In this playlist, Arruda reveals ten questions that he “designed to help you uncover key drivers of your personal brand (passions, superpowers, values, differentiators, goals, and purpose).”


William has given more keynotes and presentations on personal branding than any other thought leader, so he is quite literally the world’s leading voice on personal branding! Below, we highlight his current keynote topics, which “are designed for anyone who’s ready to shine (and have more fun!) at work.”

  • Digital You: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age
  • How to Be Real When Working Virtually
  • Personal Branding for Sales Leaders (for Sales Kick-offs and Conferences)
  • Building Brand YOU! Three Steps to a Winning Personal Brand
  • Personal Branding for Women
  • Master LinkedIn to Master Your Digital Brand



LinkedIn Profile Type Indicator™ (LPTI) Quiz
Unsure whether your LinkedIn profile communicates your authentic, differentiated, and compelling personal brand? Take Arruda's LinkedIn Profile Type Indicator™ Quiz to find out!
360°Reach Personal Brand Survey
Whether you are searching for a new job or striving for a promotion, 360°Reach can help you thrive in your professional life. Take this survey for critical, candid feedback that can help you “stand out from your peers and advance your career.”


Personal and Digital Branding

What exactly is your personal brand? According to Arruda, it is “your unique promise of value.” If it were a puzzle, its pieces would include your goals, values, passions, differentiators, innate talents (or, as Arruda likes to call them, superpowers), and purpose. Follow Arruda's branding framework below to learn more, take control of your reputation, and harness the power of your personal brand.

First, it is crucial to understand that your personal brand is made up of two versions of you: the real world you and the digital you. That is, your presence in real life and your presence online. Although these versions of you are distinct from one another, they should ultimately depict the same person: the true, authentic you. Once you have a grasp on this idea, you can begin to “get clear on your brand,” or take control of your reputation. Arruda recommends that you enter the personal branding process with the mindset of unearthing your brand as opposed to creating it. This will not only help you uncover who you truly are and the factors that make you irreplaceable in the market, but it will prevent you from simply creating the brand that you think you should have.

To successfully unearth your unique personal brand, you will have to (1) deepen your understanding of self and (2) gather input from outside sources. To achieve step one, consider the “puzzle pieces” that we mentioned earlier: your goals, values, passions, differentiators, superpowers, and purpose. As Arruda calls them, these “6 drivers of your personal brand” are key to both understanding your brand and telling your story. See this series of short videos that he created to help you uncover these key drivers, as well as articulate them to others. To achieve step two, solicit feedback from family, friends, and co-workers with the goal of understanding how others perceive you. This step is especially important, because “your brand is held in the hearts and minds of those who know you.”

Once you have taken these steps to unearth your brand, it is time to translate the real you into the “bits-and-bytes version of you.” In other words, it is time to take your personal brand virtual. Start by assessing your current online presence. Arruda suggests that you Google yourself (and do so often!) to evaluate whether the search results depict the real you. If they do, continue portraying your authentic self through the screen and building your brand influence. If they don’t, it’s time to reevaluate, fine-tune your profiles, and start producing content that aligns the digital you with the real world you. For those with a digital reputation that is less than glowing, Arruda offers the following ways to improve your digital identity:

  • Put your name into a major search engine and flag any unflattering content. Consider where your efforts are most needed and separate the content into what you (and your future career) can tolerate vs. what you cannot
  • Untag yourself from posts and media that do not align with your brand or goals and check your settings to prevent unwanted tagging in the future
  • Consider making certain posts and accounts private, especially if you intend to use them for personal purposes
  • Produce newer, more on-brand content to push old, unattractive content to later pages of the search results (Arruda calls this “burying the dirt”)

For more personal and digital branding tips from Arruda, follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter, browse his column in Forbes, or watch some (or all!) of the CareerBlast videos that he created alongside executive coach Ora Shtull. You can also pick up a copy of his latest book, Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age.


Arruda advises every professional to be on LinkedIn. When used effectively, this large (and growing) professional network is a great place to connect with others, an opportunity-hub, and “the most powerful tool to influence your online brand.”

As you build or refine your LinkedIn profile, Arruda recommends that you pay special attention to three particular sections: your Headshot, Headline, and About. These sections are the most important to your profile because they give you the greatest opportunity to make a strong and authentic digital first impression. For Arruda's tips on using each section effectively, see his more detailed advice below.


When someone views your LinkedIn profile, your headshot has the power to “make you real.” This is especially true when that someone has never met you in person. Use the checklist below to guarantee that your headshot sparks an emotional connection and makes the ultimate first impression. Arruda suggests using a headshot photo that:

  • Is professional
  • Is compelling
  • Fills “60-80 percent of the frame” with your face
  • Appears as though you are making eye contact with anyone viewing your profile (face forward!)
  • Portrays you and you only (no other people in your headshot!)
  • Includes the “universal welcome symbol” – a smile!


The Headline is a 120-character opportunity to hook your viewers and invite them to learn more about you and your career. According to Arruda, you are unlikely to achieve this by simply stating your title and company. While your title and company convey important information about you and your brand, you need something more, something that tells other people you are interesting. Try including “how you do what you do or the results you achieve when you do it.”


What you include in the About section of your profile can make or break your digital first impression. Whether you are creating a LinkedIn profile from scratch or revamping the one you already have, here are some of Arruda's dos and don’ts when it comes to crafting this important section.


  • Be mindful and selective of what you include in the first three lines of the About section. LinkedIn does not explicitly tell you this, but someone viewing your profile only sees beyond the first three lines if they click “…see more” in the bottom corner. Therefore, it is of upmost importance that you “create excitement with those first three lines”
  • Write a summary with enough detail and specificity so that it can only apply to you
  • Demonstrate that you are “credible and likable”
  • Include:
    • Your passions
    • Your values
    • Your skills, talents, differentiators, and interests
    • Your accomplishments, degrees, and achievements
    • Whatever it is that makes you compelling


  • Skip the About section
  • Copy and paste the information from your headline (this is a waste of space and opportunity)
  • Write a summary that someone else in your position can copy and paste as their own. If your summary can apply to anyone other than you, then it’s too generic and probably boring

After you’ve crafted your Headshot, Headline, and About sections, you’re ready to check out the other features that LinkedIn has to offer. Have fun as you expand your network, one connection at a time!

Social Media

When it comes to using social media effectively, some people would advise you to have and maintain a presence on every possible platform. William Arruda, however, is not one of those people. Instead, he recommends being selective and mindful about the platforms you’re on in order to avoid burning yourself out. When selecting the social media platforms that are right for you and your brand, consider whether each platform:

  • Is used (and used often) by your target audience
  • Provides the means for you to interact with your target audience
  • Is a “tool you’ll enjoy using” (if you enjoy using the platform, you are more likely to maintain your presence on it and engage with your target audience)

Irrespective of which platforms you choose, Arruda has some universal advice for those looking to increase their brand influence via social media. First, ask yourself the following question whenever you post: “Will this be valuable to my target audience?” If you cannot answer this question in the affirmative, rethink and rework your post. Second, use hashtags, and be considerate of the hashtags you use. According to Arruda, the right hashtags have the power to “put you on the radar of people who are interested in what you have to offer.”


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