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.”

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