Times have Changed. Have You?
During the past few years the job market has changed leaving us no choice but to change how we manage our careers and employment transitions if we are to survive and thrive in these new times. For the majority of jobs it’s no longer realistic to believe that anyone will be in any one position for several years, let alone for the life of their career. Yes, there are professions that are exceptions (physicians, attorneys, and others). Work environments and the way in which we work and think about work will continue to be impacted by technology and a host of other factors. The challenge for most professionals is that they are too focused on doing what needs done in the short term instead of discovering ways to manage their time and responsibilities so they can complete what needs done in the short term and take action toward realizing longer term career goals.
The economic conditions of recent years and continued global development have increased an interest in how best to compete for employment. Competition has been so fierce in many fields for several years now that many are opting for jobs that can meet their most basic of needs compared with the pursuit of lifelong progressive careers. The times in which we now work require new approaches for securing employment and developing careers.
One new approach involves personal branding where professionals focus on developing their ability to communicate using storytelling, advanced techniques, and social media to describe how they can add value to organizations. This new employment era is transforming how individuals search for positions and how organizations select, retain, and develop talent. It is no secret that talent is attracted to the best brands and organizations continue to compete for the best talent. What may not be as widely known is that a few basic techniques can help professionals manage their reputations and communicate their value to potential employers using consistent messaging across numerous platforms online as well as in person.
Successful job seekers continue to use networking and progressive methods to attract attention and stand out from others. Today’s job seekers understand that the job search methods of the past are in large part no longer relevant. Social media and applicant tracking systems have changed how individuals locate and apply for positions. Well positioned job seekers can secure positions without applying to advertised vacancies and use relationship-based networking to locate new opportunities. Future advances in technology will also impact the employment process giving job seekers a reason to stay current with the process and constantly evolve job search techniques.
So if you think personal branding doesn’t matter, think again. While we continue to see an increase in job seekers using LinkedIn, what is more interesting are the increases that we are seeing in individuals using Facebook and Twitter to find jobs. According to a 2012 Jobvite Social Job Seeker Survey:
• 61% of job seekers say finding a job has gotten harder in the past year
• 41% of employed job seekers are overqualified
• 88% of job seekers have at least one social networking profile; 645 have two profiles and 44% have three
• 1 in 6 job seekers credit social media for their current job
When you think about personal branding at its most basic level ask yourself if you can really afford not to make an effort to manage your personal brand—you already have one. What is your personal brand saying about you? Are you a leader? A team player? A follower? How do you want to be viewed and remembered?
Personal branding is your reputation. Reputations are formed from combinations of interactions and perceptions. Every interaction others have with you and how they feel about you helps create your personal brand and each interaction you have with others is an opportunity to build or detract from your brand. Reputation management, personal marketing, and other terms are used interchangeably with personal branding. What is important is to recognize is that personal branding is about communicating how you can add value and what makes you unique from others. It is not about false advertising to promote yourself as a candidate—it is about understanding communication, perspective taking, networking, and social media to develop and enrich relationships and careers.