How am I going to use my personal brand to prepare myself for the job market?
Generally, when I think of preparing for the job market, I think of new college graduates who have followed a traditional path by going to college directly from high school. I know that represents a high percentage of my classmates both in this class and in other classes here at the University of Colorado. However, as most of you know already from reading my blog over this past four months, I’ve been in a career and in the “job market” for over sixteen years. So, while initially I would have written off a subject like this, this class has caused me to think differently about things like this.
A job market doesn’t have to mean a new, entry level position for a new college graduate in their young to mid twenties. It could mean a new opportunity at a current career position. It could mean a new job or a career change for someone who is already highly experienced.
One of the more significant pieces of knowledge I’ve picked up this year is that a relevant and current personal brand is important no matter who you are or where you are in your career.
While developing my branding strategy, one thing I wanted to improve on was my visibility. An internet search for my name failed to reveal anything of significance. This isn’t an accident. I’ve purposely limited my internet visibility, but I realized that I’d gone too far. None of my publications are visible, none of my speaking engagements at conferences showed up, none of the projects of which I’d worked tirelessly showed up, I simply looked like the worlds most boring individual. That’s certainly not the case, but I wasn’t doing anything to help myself.
So, to fix this, I’ve posted a personal website which discusses things I’ve done. It has an area for my engagements and it has a place to put public work I’ve done. While its not complete, and is certainly a work in progress, it gives me a launching point for visibility in the future. I’ve also strived to be a more significant part of public conferences. While this
may not make much sense, in my previous position and company, our work was highly sensitive in nature and I couldn’t release much of anything. This certainly lent itself to my online anonymity, but did not help my brand. Now I work for the public sector and all my work is technically public domain. I can now leverage that work to begin making a bigger name for myself.
Of course, with this comes the idea that if my name is attached to something, anyone can read it, so it had better be as professional and accurate as I can possibly make it.
The only thing worse than being anonymous is having a reputation of being incorrect.
So, to circle back to the original question, the job market is something you’re always preparing for, so my intent is to continue to shape and develop my brand and my online presence. My website needs work to continually update it and make it relevant, but I can do that. My publications need more visibility, and I can certainly do that. Finally, I need to associate my name with my work. A search for my name needs to reveal a bit more about my professional career than it does now. I need to build a credible digital profile. Being anonymous in this job market, whether you’re a new grad in your twenties, or have been in a career for a few decades, won’t work. Personal networks are still key, but online networks are perhaps just as important.
I wish everyone the best of luck in their new or continued careers and please reach out to me if you have any questions or would like to give or get advice. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for anything at all to help you succeed in your career search. Also, if you’d like to join my LinkedIn network, please do so here.