As a professional in this great city, what do you stand for? What skills do you offer that no one else does? In a sea of equally aggressive, ambitious and talented people, why should an employer hire you? If you cannot answer these three questions clearly in less than 30 seconds, you do not have a personal brand. So go ahead and define it; and if you think you already have a strong brand, test it to see if the talents and expertise you offer are still marketable. Here are three reasons why updating your brand is more important than ever.
Chances are you will have more than three careers over your lifetime
I read a recent study done by a top business school professor that talked about how professionals starting out today can expect to enjoy (or at least “have”) up to four distinct careers over one’s lifetime, each lasting approximately seven to eight years. The single career path is eroding away, especially for highly educated individuals who are more likely to have multiple interests, greater financial security and equally diverse and marketable skills. If this is you, be prepared to revamp your personal brand at least three times over your multi-dimensional career. You might as well get started now if you have trouble defining who you are and what you offer.
The skills needed to succeed in business are changing rapidly
Ask any entrepreneur with a great business idea about what kind of talent they need to help grow their business and I bet you they will answer with a response involving analytics, social media engagement and marketing creativity or a tight combination of all three. Are any of these skills offered as a major or concentration as part of an existing MBA program? Not yet from what I can tell, but I can tell you they should be. Skills unheard of less than half a generation ago are in tremendous demand by small businesses ready to take the next step. An employee able to decipher and analyze high volumes of data into actionable bits of business intelligence is extremely rare but in significant demand. Are you one of these people? If not, maybe you should be.
Re-invent or die
As you progress upward in your career you will naturally gain new expertise and new abilities that will make you more marketable and more attractive to new employers. If your personal brand does not incorporate the new age of business, you risk falling behind and rendering yourself obsolete. Avoid this fate at all costs and defend your brand!
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.