Careers, Job Search, Personal Branding

Personal Branding – Not the Latest Fad

Mary Rosenbaum | September 30th, 2009

What are the similarities between a job seeker, someone in career transition, and an entrepreneur? The basic and most important similarity is that each one has a personal brand. I spoke at a career seminar last week and after my talk someone came up and commented that personal branding is just the latest fad and that job seekers need more than words to secure a new position. No he’s wrong and yes he’s right.

Personal Branding is not the latest fad; in fact it’s been around for decades. The only difference is it didn’t have a name when it was applied to individuals as opposed to corporations. As a former recruiter for over 20 years, I instinctively knew how to “brand” my candidates by highlighting their differentiating qualities – the strengths that would enable them to stand out from those competing for the same job. At the time I called it positioning rather than branding.

Simply put, Personal Branding is being able to plant words that you want others to use when they describe or think of you. My work with clients helps them find those words that not only focus on their strengths, abilities, skills, and experience, but also targets how those words should be used and to whom. The adjectives they use to describe themselves reflects their value added. Your value added is the benefit your employer or client derives from working with you. It’s what distinguishes you from everyone else. It is the essence of your Personal Brand.

The definition of a Personal Brand is the reputation others hold of you in their hearts and minds. The words you plant become your reputation if you are consistent, clear, and constant in your messaging to others. A consistent message that clearly demonstrates your unique promise of value, your value added, repeated often to your target audience will result in gaining the visibility you need and want when opportunities arise.

Judging from the comments I receive from clients, having a brand makes them feel like the expert in their particular field or area of specialty. Identifying what it is and formulating the right words to convey their brand is hard work, but the rewards are worth it. So whether you are an entrepreneur, a job seeker, or someone in transition, knowing how to sell yourself so you stand out from the crowd is a critical ingredient to achieving your goals.

The Entrepreneurial Quiz

Mary Rosenbaum | September 1st, 2009

With the unemployment rate hovering near 10% there is no surprise that many people are looking into starting their own business. Being your own boss sounds enticing – no more threats of being laid off, no one in control of your destiny but you. But are you prepared for taking on the role of an entrepreneur? The following Entrepreneurial Quiz was prepared by Career Coach Institute and I have found it helps weed out those that want to from those that can do. Although this does not address the “what will I do” of starting up your own business, it will help you in deciding the “whether or not” question.

Entrepreneurial Quiz

Do You Have the Entrepreneurial Personality?

Question Yes No
Is it important to you to accomplish something meaningful with your life?
Do you typically set both short- and long-term goals for yourself?
Do you usually achieve your goals?
Do you enjoy working on your own?
Do you like to perform a variety of tasks in your job?
Are you self-disciplined?
Do you like to be in control of your working environment?
Do you take full responsibility for your successes and failures?
Can you place the needs of your business above your family when necessary?
Are you in excellent physical, mental and emotional health?
Do you have the drive and energy to achieve your goals?
Do you have work experience in the type of business you wish to start?
Have you ever been so engrossed in your work that time passed unnoticed?
Do you consider “failures” as opportunities to learn and grow?
Can you hold to your ideas and goals even when others disagree with you?
Are you willing to take moderate risks to achieve your goals?
Can you afford to lose the money you invest in your business?
When the need arises, are you willing to do a job that may not interest you?
Are you willing to work hard to acquire new skills?
Do you usually stick with a project until it is completed?

Your answers to at least 15 of these questions should be yes if you are to be successful as a business owner.  While it is not necessary to answer all of these questions yes, but if you answer no to some of them, you will want to evaluate what that means to you and how significantly it may impact your ability to run your own business.

My next topic will be about the “how and what” of starting your own business.