Tag Archive | "personal brand"

Ch-ch-changes in Career Strategies

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David Bowie montage

Has it crossed your mind to wonder why contemporary legends David Bowie and Madonna are still holding their own quite nicely against their much younger, hipper musical counterparts?  Hint: both the Thin White Duke and the Material Girl are savvy business people as well as artists.  To retain their competitive edge in an industry whose consumers have an insatiable appetite for what is new and different, they have continually reinvented themselves.  Both have taken serious risks in keeping their material and stage personas if not completely fresh, then at least a bit out of the mainstream, using approaches that keep audiences coming back for more.   Thirty-five years after his glam-rock Scary Spiders from Mars days, Bowie is still a crafty, talented songwriter and a consummate performer with a very respectable following.  For her part, Madonna recently came off a tour touted to be the highest grossing ever by a single artist.  Not bad for a rocker in his ’60’s and a punk ballerina past the half-century mark.


What Bowie, Madonna, and others like them who thrive beyond the lifecycle of the typical entertainer understand is that each of them is not merely a performer but a brand.  Performers are usually renowned for a particular talent and that talent is customarily associated with a particular niche or genre within the entertainment industry.  One-dimensional in nature, they usually fall out of favor with the public as tastes change and audiences become enamored of newer, fresher performers – usually younger and perceived as more physically attractive as well.


Brands, on the other hand, are often multi-dimensional – encompassing multiple products appealing to diverse consumers and markets.  By introducing new products, they continually reinvent themselves, expand their market base, and appeal to new generations of consumers.  And therefore, brands have a level of permanency that individuals can rarely hope to achieve.  Consider such household names as Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Sony, Verizon, and Apple.  Although each gained notoriety for a particular product, they are all currently major enterprises with products and markets transcending the bounds of country, language, culture, and race.


If the music industry were a shriveling job market in which Bowie and Madonna scrambled for jobs, both artists would be employing and cultivating their unique brands to advance their careers.  And, so should you.


Now, if you’re wondering whether or not you already have a unique personal brand, answer the following question:  if a prospective employer “googled” your name, what would he or she discover?  If your answer is “nothing of significance,” “very little,” or “something embarrassing,” then you are among the 90+% of people who – whether or not currently employed – find themselves adrift in the churning seas of our current economic downturn without a lifeboat.  You need to begin developing your personal brand without delay.


So, what is a personal brand and how do you create it?  Your personal brand is simply a combination of your talent(s), style, and values; essentially, the composite of who you are as an employee, potential employee, or business partner.  For purposes of this article, I am going to assume that you already know these things.  Should you need to discover yourself, you will need to do a thorough, searching assessment of your talents and perhaps solicit the input of a career counselor, coach, or other objective party.


Again, assuming that you know what you have to offer in the workplace, the primary hurdle for most people is building market exposure for their unique personal brand.  Fortunately, the Internet provides many helpful tools to assist you in reaching your target audience.  Your message, however, must be created by you or a professional with whom you may work to craft it.


Components of your personal branding strategy will or may include – in no particular order – your resume and cover letter, email address, business card, portfolio, profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, appearance, article marketing efforts, and blog or Website:


Use your resume and cover letter to create, via use of appropriate keywords and articulation of accomplishments, the best expression of you and what you have to offer a prospective employer.


If appropriate to your career, develop a portfolio – Web-based, print, or CD – providing more ample opportunity to display your talents or detail your achievements.


Create a professional email address and business card (yes, even if you are unemployed, you can and should create a card to distribute to networking contacts and prospective employers).


Use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as sites on which to create and publish professional profiles that will serve to advertise you and your talents to readers.


Writing and publication of articles on various articles boards (such as, EzineArticles or ArticlesBase) and/or on your own blog/Website will serve to build your authority as an expert in your particular field.


Finally, your wardrobe and personal appearance speak volumes about you.  Professional dress and bearing, in situations in which you are interviewing or networking, will go a long way in advancing your personal brand and prospects for achievement of career objectives.


So, as you see, there’s no need to don a silver jumpsuit or transform religious iconography into jewelry in order to stand out from the crowd of job seekers; just be cutting edge.  Use technology and simple personal branding strategies to your advantage in increasing your relevancy, and by inference, your value to prospective employers.

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