The Value Of Building Your Personal Brand


Have you heard about personal branding? It’s the idea that in the 21st Century, you are responsible for the degree to which you are known; that you are responsible for your own marketing.

The theory goes that you are a brand and your success depends on that brand being widely visible. So, you need to have sexy visuals, lots of recommendations on LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization of your profile and resume (this is a trick that makes your profile appear higher in search results).

You need a personal coach, a visual resume, video clips and a hundred other services. Then, people will easily find you and yours will be a life of leisure.

It’s a lopsided battle. Since there are only two or three John Sumsers, we don’t have to fight very much to see who’s on the top of the Google search results (I usually win). For the John Smiths of the world, Google-centric employment branding is some kind of a nightmare.

It is true that marketing is a personal responsibility in the 21st Century. We are being freed from our safety nets. At the same time. technology is making it possible for us to tell our stories in interesting ways. We are all going to have our own personal advertising agencies staffed by, who else, us.

Google the term ‘personal brand’. There’s a magazine, a Wikipedia entry, tips galore and the earnest enthusiasm of early adopter evangelists.

To hear the soothsayers tell it, you need a broad public face that competes with large corporate brands.

This is more of the foolishness that is brought to you by the people who think that your friends are a network that can get you a job, recommend a restaurant and help you find a church. Somehow, your network is uniquely suited to deliver you to the exact people with whom you wish to interact. That’s the magic formula. You have to build your own personal marketing department while exploiting the connections you’ve made by working on the little league team and tending the community garden.

Assume that the gargantuan stuff is poppycock. Actually, you can assume it is something much more guttural, I just can’t call it that here.

But, you do need to toot your own horn in the world in which you live.

Most of us live in small cities where the employment and income generating opportunities are very specific. We don’t need to build personal brands as an avocation; we need to build our reputations as great workers and contributors.

If 100 people in your town know that you are an amazing plumber, coder, customer service rep, leader, executive or whatever, that’s probably enough to grease the skids of your career. While you do need to work on and manage your reputation, you don’t need a personal brand consultant.

Unless your name is something like John Smith, you live in a huge city and have no idea what you want to do.

Categories Career Advice