Intentional Personal Branding in 2020 for Job Seekers
How does that happen? Think about it this way…
The truth about personal branding is that all of us have always had a personal brand. The internet and social media are now giving us an opportunity to exploit it in a way that works in our favor.
How does that happen? Think about it this way…
Think about your current or your last job. You know who all the lazy people are, right? These are the people who show up late for work and never contribute their fair share to a project.
The same example can be used in a positive way. Who are the ones who are always looking for projects that can help them grow on the job?
All these people have created a reputation for how they show up at work. In most cases, we can all expect that they will stay true to the reputation they have built over the course of many years.
Now think about what would happen if we all participated in personal branding intentionally? How would that affect how you show up at work? What kind of reputation would you be able to build? How much faster would you be able to grow your network of people who could move you closer to your goals?
Here are a few facts that people need to understand about personal branding and how it can benefit you.
A resume is soooo 1995.
The days of checking job listings for your next opportunity can be a long wait. One job listing can attract hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
Unless there is something about you that is immediately attractive, you may find yourself spending months looking for a job that doesn’t even suit you.
Before I became a full-time writer, I worked in the field of higher education in Washington, DC. I started a professional blog after witnessing a number of incidents that made it clear that students were not a priority. Bureaucratic red tape and plain old ego-driven personalities made it difficult to make changes on the ground.
So I turned my ideas into blog posts. The blog gave me the confidence to be more assertive in expressing how I wanted to solve problems not just at my college, but within the higher education system as a whole.
And even though I never wrote a post that went viral, my blog did catch the attention of some higher-ups in education within DC. As a result, I was offered several teaching and consulting gigs.
I became an educational thought leader and didn’t even know it.
These were opportunities that were never advertised online. I didn’t hear about them through a friend. These are people who sought me out after reading blog posts that made them believe that I could help them solve a problem within their organization.
Being a college graduate no longer makes you special.
As a person who has completed a bachelor’s degree, a graduate certificate, a master’s degree, AND an additional 24 credits towards a doctoral degree, you’d figure that I would be the last person to tell you that degrees aren’t important.
Truthfully, I believe the value of your college degree all depends on what you make of it.
But the thinking that walking into a company with a newly minted bachelor’s degree is going to get you hired for a job or as a consultant will leave you quickly disappointed.
There are tons of new graduates out there who are pounding the pavement looking for jobs — and it’s taking way longer than they expected.
Creating an intentional personal brand pushes you to get clear on what you want.
Once you know what you want, you become laser-focused. It’s much more empowering to work on growing your personal brand while looking for a job rather than sending out the same resume to everybody on Indeed.com.
You need people who can vouch for who you are.
Having an intentional, public personal brand that you control gives you the opportunity to grow a following of people who buy into who you are and what you do.
It goes a lot deeper than just having people who like and comment on your social media posts. I’m talking about creating real opportunities for you to shine so you have a growing portfolio of work that says something about the kind of person you are.
Building a public brand requires consistency. If you show up daily, even when it seems like no one is paying attention, the right opportunity is bound to show up as more people grow to love who you are and can enthusiastically say that you are the right person for the job.
One of my favorite examples of this is Amanda Seales. This multi-talented performer is a comedian, an actress, a painter, singer, a producer, a published author (I’m probably missing a few titles here…). I’ve followed her for at least a decade or more through a number of projects — some of which have done well, while others have been a public failure.
Through it all, she’s been consistent about her brand and continuing to create and push projects she believes in.
All that work has led to her starring in her own HBO stand-up comedy special in 2019. If that’s not an example of the power of personal branding, then I don’t know what is.
Your job owes you nothing.
We have seen a number of companies lay off thousands of perfectly good employees. People who thought their paid time off would always be available and their 401k’s would take care of them in their later years.
The reality is that I have friends in their 40’s 50’s who have been laid off multiple times in the last 5 years. Their 401k’s have taken a hit and they feel like ageism is keeping them from living out their career goals.
These are people who thought that hard work was enough to keep a job. Instead, they learned a hard truth: they were expendable to their employers.
I’m not saying that having a personal brand would have prevented the layoffs. However, I do believe that you attract opportunities when you have a personal brand that is desirable.
So what does this all mean for you…
Growing an intentional personal brand puts you in the position to think deeply about who you are, what gifts you bring to the table, and how you want those gifts to be expressed.
Many job seekers take the passive route to finding a job, then wonder why they’re not fulfilled. Personal branding will never be a fad as long as there are people who are interested in creating lives that are on purpose.