5 LESSONS LEARNED for Personal Branding

By Anna-Marie Plechata

In this article, I would like to share with you what I have learned during the Social Media Marketing course, led by professor Denny McCorkle at the University of Northern Colorado.

5 Lessons Learned

1. What is PB&J?

Surprisingly, PB&J is not a shortcut for Peanut Butter&Jelly sandwiches (at least not in this context, even though I loooove PB&J sandwiches). It is a shortcut for Personal Branding & Job Search.

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During the SMM course, I have learned, how important it is for my future career, to build my personal brand. It is not something you can do within a couple of days. I realized that you need to work hard and really spend hours with designing your social media profiles and creating the content. You have to keep posting, sharing and making comments every day.

See what professor Denny McCorkle says about it “Do’s & Don’ts When Using Blogging for Personal Branding & Job Search”.

2. Once you press “ENTER” you can’t take it back.

Once you make a post or comment, you cannot take it back. It is there and it will be there (somewhere in the huge online word) probably forever. When potential employers are checking you out, search on the internet is the easiest thing for them to do. Believe it or not, it is easier than calling your previous employer and they can get to know much more about you by this way. Embarrassing photos from high school? Drunken comments? You do not want to do that. Golden rule? The mom test – Are you ok with your mom seeing what you are sharing on social media?

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3. Activity is essential.

Being active and building a personal brand on social media is 100% worth it. Even if you are struggling with engagement, no comments, no likes… keep posting! Somebody sees you. When YOU are checking social media, you do not always make a comment or give a like, even though you like it. That is what people do. But they DO see you. Once they will reach to you, offer you a job or cooperation on an interesting project. But remember, always be yourself!

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

4. Tools are handy.

During building my portfolio and personal brand I learned how tools are handy. Using tools such as Hootsuite can truly help with managing the time. When you know that you will be busy the other day, or that you are going for a holiday, you can schedule your posts so nobody will recognize that you are lying on the beach and not sitting by the computer.

5. Make a plan!

What do you want to achieve? How do you want to present yourself? What impression do you want to make? I realized that it is crucial to know answers to these questions before you start doing anything. Have a goal. Make a plan. What to share with your audience and when and what form and style. Think about where you can add a little bit of humor and where it is inappropriate. I was tracking down every post/comment I made (piece of paper worked great for me).

Check this “A Nine-Step Path to Personal Branding“.

personal branding


Be patient. Think twice before making a post. Make a plan. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were most likely laying bricks every hour. Building a personal brand is time-consuming but it is worth every effort.

What obstacles did you have to overcome to build your own personal brand? What did you struggle with? Was it worth it? If not, please comment and tell me why.

Image credit: Anna-Marie Plechata

Comment or tweet me at @AnnaPlechata with the hashtag #HRtist.


Employee Engagement

By Anna-Marie Plechata

Last time we spoke about HR roles – see my previous article What does the HR department do?

This time we will go in more depth and speak about the engagement of employees.

Employee’s engagement is vital for the success of the company. Actually, it is incredibly expensive, when the employees are not engaged or worse – when they are disengaged.

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How to engage…

I have always dreamed of working for a company which truly cares about employee satisfaction and engagement. At this point, I am not thinking about myself as the employee being taken care of, but as the employee who is actually taking care of the others. Making sure they are happy with what they do, where they work and with who they work.

You may argue with me, that employee engagement is not the competence of HR. That it is the manager’s job to make sure that his/her workers are happy and you would be right. But can a manager take care of everything, to make the employees happy? How can HR contribute?

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What does it take?

Employee engagement is influenced by the manager, type of tasks, autonomy and accountability, the feeling of being valued, being successful…simply, it is strongly connected with the particular position and individual mindset, which is not really in power of HR.

But what can HR do?

On the other hand, HR can truly support the feeling of pleasant workplace or cohesiveness of people by organizing different kinds of events, to make you feel excited to go to work, to meet the people you actually enjoy working with. This feeling can increase the engagement of employees as they feel as a part of a „family“ and eventually – responsible for the „family“ success and profit.

I am not sure if there is an actual HR position for doing this kind of job for the company but let me create it, right here and right now. Because why not? This is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

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HumanConnector would be a specialist of HR department. Let’s say it is me. My job would be settling the new employees to the organization and taking care of their contracts. I would be in close touch with newcomer employees so I would know them pretty well, which would create the advantage for me when organizing special events for them, to make them feel as a part of the company and to excite them for their job.

Let’s do something good together.

As a HumanConnector, I would organize different kinds of collections for charity. During the year, there would be some events, when we help the others together. You bring all the clothes or toys you do not need anymore, to make some space in your apartment while helping the others. Or I manage blood station in the office so you can donate blood, for what we give you a beer or we throw a party/BBQ for you.

The point is, that helping the others, will bring us together, win-win! Afterward, HumanConnector can communicate it with the public, so what is it now? A triple win?


Who would not love to have that kind of job, where you can develop yourself and learn while working when the company offers you more than you expected. Let me invite some guests, coaches, leaders, let’s speak about the purpose of the life or apple pies, whatever keeps us moving forward.

– – –


If you take a really good care of your people, they notice it and they give you something back. They will work hard and possibly they will enjoy the time spent at the office. They might become committed and ENGAGED!

What does the company do for you to keep you motivated and engaged? Do you have any suggestions?

Image credit: Anna-Marie Plechata

Please comment or tweet me at @AnnaPlechata with the hashtag #HRtist.

What does the HR department do?

Image credit: Anna-Marie Plechata

By Anna-Marie Plechata

As I created this blog for everybody who wants to learn more about HR let me make clear what are the roles and responsibilities of HR department in a company.


HR roles

Let’s view it from my perspective and talk about:

  • Recruitment
  • Safety
  • Money, money, money
  • Employee relations
  • Training and development
  • Compliance

If you already know the HR roles do not leave this blog yet!

First of all, you can read about it again, because „Repetition is the mother of wisdom”. Secondly, at the very end of this article, there is a little GIFT for you.


As I worked at recruitment approximately a year ago, I had the best chance to experience this role myself. Recruitment can be hard. Stressful. There is a pressure from the management of the company because the company needs great people, great candidates. But to find these candidates is not easy at all. You, as a recruiter, need to be very proactive, actively search and approach to candidates even when they do not really look for a job.

Social media is a key player nowadays so please do not tell me you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet. Everybody is there. EVERYBODY.


We all have been there, right? Those incredibly long and boring training about Health & Safety. Guess what? This is usually the responsibility of HR department. It is their job to ensure that the office is a safe environment. No sharp edges, no banana peels on the floor (because yes – slide on a banana peel can happen to everybody not only to Tom&Jerry) and if you cut your finger with the paper you should run for help to HR department straightaway. Alright, let me try to be serious now because it is not funny. Except it is, did you image that? Because I did.

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It is important to know where to go, what to do, how to help when the crisis hits. This training provided by HR are always considered as the necessary evil, but if there is even the smallest possibility that it could save somebody’s life one day…then I say “Let’s practice this mouth-to-mouth respiration”.

Money, money, money

That is why we love HR, right? Because it provides the setting of compensation structure. Some companies have payroll specialists who are taking care of our salary. I have never worked as payroll specialist and I believe it requires a great chunk of accountability and math skills, but do these people really know, how much is EVERYBODY in the organization earning? (Now I really wish I was better at mathematics in school.)

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Employee relations

Remember when you were little, fighting with your siblings and then mummy stepped in and made it stop? HR is now your mummy at the workplace.

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Training and development

HR, in cooperation with you managers, needs to help you settle down at the company and give this powerful tool to your hands so you can perform your new job and succeed. There is no shame in not knowing. The boss of your boss of your boss was once a new and unskilled employee too, right?


Magical word but what does it mean? In the world of rules and restrictions which companies are liable to, someone needs to take care of compliance with state employment laws. It is one of the crucial functions of HR department so we do not need to worry about our contract and taxes and others super trooper complicated stuff. Isn’t it great? Thank you, HR.

– – –

As I promised you at the beginning, here is the gift. If you were expecting something really big or material, now you will probably hate me.

My gift for you is a book recommendation. This book is great for both, those who are interested in HR or those who just want to learn more from the business world around us.

„Work Rules” is a book written by Google HR manager Laszlo Bock. Google is different, one of the Top Employers, this book will show you why it is so. I love this book.



We could speak about HR roles for hours but I wanted to provide you with a simple summary and my point of view.

If you go through expert literature you would find much more about it but I wanted to give you just the picture, to see the frames of it, to understand, what HR department is doing for the company and how hard they work.

What do you think about the roles and responsibilities of HR? What experience do you have with HR?

Image credit: Anna-Marie Plechata

Please comment or tweet me at @AnnaPlechata with the hashtag #HRtist.