Is it time for a new personal brand?

Recently, a colleague made a comment about watching their co-workers change jobs numerous times over the years and they didn’t want to be caught off-guard if an unexpected change happened to them. Their concern is shared by many who often find themselves facing a job search unprepared.

Author and branding expert, Karen Tiber Leland’s book The Brand Mapping Strategy addresses marketing issues surrounding an outdated personal brand. The information shared is valuable for anyone looking to update the way they communicate with others.

Branding is a marketing term that’s been around centuries even though we often associate it with a product or merchandise. In the job market, branding takes on more of a personal role and understanding the branding process can lead to a faster job offer.

It’s easy to become comfortable with your communication style especially when trying to distinguish yourself from other professionals. In the past, introducing yourself as a “dedicated worker who is loyal” might have created attention, but in today’s market you need more descriptive words.

Leland talks about the power of words and how they can literally draw others closer or cause them lose interest in you. She makes note of a networking event where she compared two attendees and their styles of communication; one that was prepared and had a story to tell versus one who was on a “branding ramble” and left the listener dazed.

If you have ever attended an event or conference where socializing plays a part, then you know exactly what’s it like to talk with someone who knows how to build rapport. They are so much easier to talk with than those who respond with a couple of sentences and leave you drained.  You remember people much like you do a brand name product — they stand out in a good way.

Updating your personal brand is great exercise and one that you need to do often because your career goals change as well as your perspective on life. Leland uses the following scenarios to help you decide when it’s time for a new personal brand.

  • Anytime your focus has changed, the way you used to describe who you are, what you do, or what you offer has shifted. In other words, your old language won’t convey the new you.
  • You have identified a new niche or opportunity. If the market or industry you are pursuing has changed then the way you express your visual, intellectual and emotional capital may need to be adjusted to match the opportunity.
  • You are not getting responses to your offers. As for job candidates this would apply to your resume and other marketing collateral that’s not generating the attention you need from interested employers.
  • You have undergone a personal transformation. Any time you undergo a change such as losing your job, a divorce or illness you may find that you are not the same person and have a new perspective on life.
  • Your audience has changed. For job candidates this would be the industry or field you are targeting. Technology is creating new ways to search for a job and your personal brand needs to reflect the latest trends.

Your personal brand shapes your social media profiles and the ways employers find you. It’s not surprising that 92 percent of recruiters use online profiles to find top talent. The way you present your information online is to your advantage communicating your experience in the best light possible.

What made you decide that it was time for a new personal brand?  

Kim Thompson