It will benefit your career in many ways if you take advantage of personal branding. Personal branding helps you showcase your value and expertise in a more compelling way than a resume would and also helps you get noticed. You may wonder why this should be more important in today’s COVID-19 ERA.
Firstly, in addition to the volatile job market, there has been an unprecedented job loss globally following the pandemic. What this means is that, if you are among the lucky few that still have a job, you may find that you are apprehensive as no job is secure anymore. If you’ve lost a job, you will have to work twice as hard to get a foothold on another.
According to Krishna Shastry, in an article for landerapp.com, she says the common theme that persists in the books of top global digital marketers like Seth Goldin is that “a resume is not going to get you a job, or even get you noticed”. So what will? “It’s your personal brand!”, says the personal brand concept pioneer; Tom Peters. Your personal brand is what sets you apart and gives you the leverage to access your next opportunity. Tom Peters says your resume should then be replaced with a marketing brochure. “Instead of a static list of titles held and positions occupied, your marketing brochure brings to life the skills you’ve mastered, the projects you’ve delivered, the braggables you can take credit for”.
MARKETING YOUR EXPERTISE WHEN YOU HAVE LOST YOUR JOB
Take an Itinerary of your Professional Skills
I attended a LinkedIn webinar summit put together by Dr. Glory Edozien; a LinkedIn Visibility Coach. One thing I took with me is this: your skills are your professional currency. An anonymous quote says “your skills and attitude are like a price tag, they show how valuable you are”. You may have lost your job, but you haven’t lost your skills. However, it’s important that you keep sharpening your skills to remain valuable and relevant in today’s world. It’s your skills that you leverage on to provide value in exchange for monetary reward and other benefits.
Tom Peters advises that in personal branding, you will have to put aside names that give structural titles in organizations. Rather, ask yourself; “What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value? If you are going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value that you are proud of and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for”.
Develop Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is about sharing knowledge, ideas or tips and advice in your area of expertise. This helps you attract the relevant audience (recruiters, head hunters, customers or clients) and helps you build credibility in the eyes of those who derive value from the insights you share including decision makers.
Demonstrate Self-Leadership and Take On A Project
After bagging my graduate degree, I had applied to jobs to no avail. Although I learnt early on that without a work experience, it would be difficult to get ahead in the job hunt. So I decided to put to practice what I have learnt. One of the things I did well at school was research. I leveraged that skill to develop a training curriculum and content for a youth development project I had volunteered for. I wrote a proposal, pitched the idea and got the opportunity. That was my first job. Someone in the management team heard of it and hired me to speak at a conference. That opened many doors for me. In fact, there is a particular project I have consistently and proudly handled for five years now through that platform.
So, while you don’t have a job at the moment, what projects can you do to demonstrate your expertise and improve your visibility? Covid-19 has made it easy. The use of technology is on the rise, so you can leverage it to start.
For example, I am currently part of a professional community on telegram. The leadership of this community invites experts to teach us about the industry. There has been lots of testimonials from people in this community. One of these testimonials is that it helps you stay ahead of the learning curve in the communications industry.
Now, this project is the founder’s initiative. She is not only building her expertise, she is increasing her network, both with peers and higher-ups. I admire her for that. This project is also helping her gain visibility on LinkedIn as she consistently shares the journey of the group on the platform. I believe her next big career opportunity is around the corner. And guess what! She just got featured in a National Print Media for her work in the community. She didn’t pitch, she was approached. Talk about having more exposure and accessing opportunities without much fuss through taking initiative and personal branding!
MANAGING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND WHILE STILL IN A CORPORATE ORGANIZATION
Since jobs are not secured anymore and staying in an organization for more than a decade is becoming a thing of the past, employees must keep using personal branding as a tool to promote and market their skills and expertise for their next career move. Some organizations may frown at this self-promotion tactics as against promoting the organization itself.
Tom Peters says you should make your personal branding efforts a win- win situation. Let everything you do to grow your personal brand also project your company. William Arruda; author of “DIGITAL YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age” says that doing so shows you are loyal to your organization and make your organization more visible. “When you have a strong brand, it delivers extra value for the organization”, he adds.
Do you still have second thoughts on building your personal brand? If so, imagine what your life and career will be without you being technology compliant in the first place. The rest of the world would have left you behind. But you can take your time. I have personally pitched personal branding for a top executive in my circle. She is taking her time in embracing the concept because she sees it as a distraction. Whatever the case may be for you, take your time. But there are more benefits than negatives when you build your personal brand.