There is one thing that we can all be certain of over the next 5, 10, 20 and 30 years - the job market and how our careers are defined will be in constant change. We cannot necessarily predict where the world will be, but we can take greater control of our careers and position our success through personal branding.
“......or consider the notion, made popular in this magazine, of the Brand Called You. This signature story in 1997 argued that we should imagine ourselves as brands and manage our professional lives accordingly.
Often discredited, if not ridiculed, as unemployment climbed higher, that idea turns out to be every bit as relevant now as it was then. The difference, as author Tom Peters points out, is that in good times, the Brand Called You was a luxury.
Now as companies continue to discard employees like used Kleenex, you have no choice but to actively market your personal brand. No one else will do it for you.”
John A Byrne – Editor – Fast Company, March 2004
The World of Careers & Job Searching
Less than 30 years ago we were told that our career would be spent with one company from leaving school to retirement......now our career is spent with numerous companies in more than one industry.
Less than 20 years ago we were told that the biggest challenge in the 21st century would be what to do with our leisure time....now our challenge is maintaining a successful career and a work life balance.
Less than 10 years ago we were told that we were entering a long period of prosperity and unlimited opportunity.....now our economies are recovering, but people have not made the career moves that they have wanted to.
Less than 5 years ago we were told due to the retiring boomer generation the shortage for talent would be so great that we could name our price.......now the big job news is offshoring and delayed retirement for many.
There is one thing that we can all be certain of over the next 5, 10, 20 and 30 years - the job market and how our careers are defined will be in constant change.
We cannot necessarily predict where the world will be, but we can take greater control of our careers and position our success through personal branding.
We are exposed more and more to the power of branding, it is estimated that the average North American is bombarded with as many as 3,000 different advertising messages everyday! Companies spend millions on that very advertising because in the past it has been proven to;
• Support premium pricing
• Extend product lines
• Increase company valuations
• Enable survival in downturns better
• Even attract better talent to organisations
Celebrities are now also heavily involved in the branding process through the products they endorse and their own 'persona's' that are presented to us as brands - you just need to look at Martha Stewart, Jack Welch or Tiger Woods to see the power of celebrity branding.
So Why Not Personally Brand?
William Arruda, the personal branding guru, best sums up personal branding as "Clearly communicating the unique promise of value that you have to offer"
It helps you to clarify and communicate differences and specialties and use those qualities to guide your career. Also in understanding your strengths, skills, passions and values and using to separate yourself from your competitors.
What to Consider- The 7 P's of Personal Branding
Your values and passions, what values impact you and what drives you?
What are your attributes? Develop a focus group, ask for input, collate response and consolidate.
What else can you uncover? What other hidden talents do you possess?
Who are your target audience? What segments? Who are your competitors in the job market?
Can you and have you delivered? Develop a Personal Brand Statement
How does your resume look? cover letter? portfolio? How do you present yourself? How are you priced?
Plan your professional path. Promote you and rebrand where necessary.
What Can You Do Right Now As You Job Search?
One of the strongest and most effective personal brand tools is your portfolio. If you do not have one you are missing a fantastic opportunity in every meeting and interview to showcase your brand.
Start to put one together including all relevant documentation that are good examples of your brand. Invest in a presentation folder that keeps all the documents together in either chronological or project order.
Include examples that will highlight:
Your unique skills – what have people said about you in reviews or letters/e-mails of praise. Or alternatively look to use specific tools to gather external feedback on your attributes and strengths, such as the 360 personal branding tool.
Your achievements – certificates, letters of praise and thanks, actual sales figures or other specifics make for great show and tell in an interview.
Your involvement in influential projects - show examples of where you have been utilised in or led a project or job and made a difference. If you have specifics through measurable results - $ or %’s include these as they are really golden.
Bottom line is that as the quote says “….. you have no choice but to actively market your personal brand. No one else will do it for you.” you cannot afford to rely on others to control or direct your career anymore, and you have to look at developing and nurturing your brand for job search and career success.