The cushy job has had its day. The image of the boring but safe backwater office, with white collar types in long conference calls agreeing objectives that are then pushed around on paper until the next conference call: this belongs firmly to the pre-noughties era. Post-recession, the jobs market is leaner, while there are many more graduates around, and more of these come from other countries where education standards may be better than yours.
Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably thought about personal branding at some stage in the past few years. This is basically how to do the best with what you’ve got. As business psychologist from University College London, Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, says, “If you want a successful career, you need to work out how you are different and communicate that to the world. There is just too much information and competition out there not to make it increasingly important try and stand out.”
Like any public relations concept, personal branding is as old as the hills, but more recent academic works on the subject include the 15-year-old classic The Brand You 50, by Tom Peters. Peters predicted that a new breed of ‘corporate citizens’ would soon emerge – people who have worked out what it is about them that is appealing to their employer (and might also get them in the door with other employers).
When your goals and ethos and those of your company are in harmony, the result is happiness all round.
“Employers now see employees as key organs of their organization; they are not only vital elements of the system, but also brand ambassadors to the outside world,” says Dr Chamorro-Premuzic. “Apple is a prime example. When consumers buy an Apple product, they feel as creatively empowered as any job candidate who is given the chance to join the company. All this is an illusion of course, but it feels real because of the power of the Apple brand.”
How To Brand Yourself And Get A Better Job
If you want to work for a company you actually like, then this article applies to you. Find out how you can brand yourself and get a better job:
What Branding Yourself Actually Means
Branding yourself simply means working out which character traits will appeal most to employers – and promoting them in a non sales-focused, natural and consistent way.
You can even go as far as visualizing yourself as a company with distinct goals, an ethos, and brand values. Where brands would write press releases, organize experiential events, and take out ad campaigns to promote products, you can use first impressions, including dress, manner and handshake, your CV and general conduct to get positive points across.
Where To Start
Think about your positive attributes and then decide what evidence you have to back them up, such as successes at work e.g. being a good team leader or having a way with words. Remember this may not have anything to do with your job title.
Then think about your ‘softer’ characteristics – how you would describe your personality. You can remind yourself by going into your room/looking in your fridge/ asking an (honest) friend to describe you in three words.
Consider your career goals, and be sure to be selfish. As Gill Corkindale, former management editor of the Financial Times says, “Put loyalty to yourself first. Then be loyal to your team, your project, your customers, and your company.”
To help all fledgling self-branders, consumer goods global leader, RB (Reckitt Benckiser), has come up with an innovative solution and developed a BrandMe microsite. This site contains a variety of tools, from everything from how to PR yourself on work experience to which words you use most on Facebook and how this defines you. You can learn a lot from big brands, some of whom have honed the craft of marketing for the past 100 years or more. RB’s BrandMe platform, is designed to help the next generation of job seekers do just that.
The Importance Of Social Media
Employers are paying increasing attention to social media profiles – which can be dangerous. In fact, two in five companies now find reasons not to hire employees based on their social media footprint, according to research from CareerBuilder.
According to BrandMe expert, Dr Chamorro-Premuzic, we now spend half as much time online as offline. He said, “All of our online behaviors are monitored and recorded. In this age of connectivity, we have to think about our digital reputation as well as our ‘word of mouth’ version – and take steps to mold and protect is as we would do in our 3D existence.”
To ensure that you don’t slip up, he recommends having a professional and a personal profile. This is because employers look to see whether someone is influential and a good networker. And they go on sites in this order: LinkedIn (as it is a recruitment tool after all) Facebook, then Twitter. The latter two are used for more personal information on the candidate.
But as he points out, “Picking professional photographs or clever quotes may have a long-lasting impact determining our online brand, but any image or brand we craft will need to be maintained via ongoing “offline” behaviors and relationships with others.”
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