How to Build Your Personal Brand Like Gatsby

By Personal Branding Blog | Small Business

In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald introduced Jay Gatsby to the world in The Great Gatsby. This summer, Leonardo DiCaprio brought the iconic character to life once again on the big screen.

How to Build Your Personal Brand Like Gatsby image shutterstock 137291939 187x300The Great Gatsby from ShutterstockJay Gatsby is the master of the intriguing personal brand. Everyone in New York City knew his name. Everyone wanted to know more about him.

Take some cues from Gatsby in building your own personal brand.

Make your name memorable

When James Gatz was a teenager, he lived in North Dakota with his parents who were extremely poor. One day, he decided he wanted more in his life than the path he seemed to be headed. On that day, he introduced himself as Jay Gatsby. After that, “Jay Gatsby” stood for wealth and attraction. Everyone in New York talked about him.

You don’t have to change your name to make it memorable. What you should do is make your name associated with your industry. Figure out what you want to be known for and become an authority in that area. When other people hear your name, they will remember who you are and what you do. If you make your name memorable, you will become more credible in turn.

Find a mentor

Gatsby learned everything about his lifestyle from a mentor. Dan Cody was a wealthy man who showed Gatsby the ropes while spending five years on his yacht. Gatsby took advantage of the time with Cody by adopting everything from his style to the way he spoke. After all of that time, Cody even wanted to leave his fortune to Gatsby.

In your own life, it is a good idea to find a mentor. Find someone who has experience doing what you want to do, someone who’s work you may admire. While you probably won’t get to spend five years on a yacht with your mentor, you can learn a lot in time. Ask your mentor for advice and use it to shape your personal brand.

Dream big

Not satisfied with a life in poverty, Gatsby aimed high. He saw an opportunity to do bigger things and took advantage of it. After the war, he studied at Oxford for a short time before committing his life to wealth and high status. When he returns to the U.S., Gatsby uses Prohibition to gain both of those things as a bootlegger.

While it’s definitely not a good idea to seek out your dreams through illegal activities, it is a good for your brand to dream big. Don’t limit yourself to jobs you think will be easy to get. Aim high and learn from your experiences along the way. Someone who wants more than what they have will exude hope and motivation. These qualities are attractive in a job candidate and will amplify your brand.

Build a network

Gatsby is the king of networking. He becomes most recognized for the lavish parties hosted at his mansion. Gatsby hosts the parties and invites everyone in New York in hopes that the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan, will attend or if not, someone who knows her.

Put yourself in the position to meet people. You don’t have to host a party to be good at networking, but you should take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Make a list of ideal people to whom you’d like to introduce yourself. For Gatsby, it was Daisy. For you, it might be a hiring manager at your ideal company or even the CEO. Find ways to meet these people directly or find someone to introduce you. If the first plan works out, you’ll seem confident. If it comes down to the second, another person’s recommendation can do wonders for your brand.

While Gatsby’s corrupt business methods may not be admirable, you cannot deny his mastery of the personal brand.

What other ways does Jay Gatsby build a strong brand?


Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

Debby Wong /

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