Personal Branding: Findings from the 2011 Global Career Brainstorming Day

On Friday, October 14, 2011, more than 250 career professionals from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom met in 15 live and virtual events sponsored by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium. Their objective was to brainstorm best practices, innovations, trends  new programs, new processes, and other observations that are currently impacting, and projected to impact, global employment, job search, and career management. Each event was hosted by a facilitator and sessions were recorded by a scribe. Post-event data was aggregated, evaluated, and was presented in a document of critical findings and forecasts.

This post will highlight the findings from a discussion on personal branding.

Personal Branding: THE NOW

Branding has become more commonplace.

One example: KPMG now does assessments to determine the “brand fit” of candidates. Another example: More and more resume writers are using branding statements on resumes and other career marketing communications.

Not all people are comfortable with the concept of branding.

This is most likely because they are unfamiliar or misinformed, sometimes thinking branding relates to products, not people. Resources are available to help career professionals and their clients better understand the concept. Personal Branding for Dummies was cited as a good generic resource, especially useful for college recruitment centers.

Brand must be authentic, not gimmicky.

Brand must match image and talent.

Personal Branding: THE NEW

Design is important to branding.

“Brazen Careerist” Penelope Trunk talks about design being important to a career how it looks And  how it’s being presented. Career professionals have to help people design their careers around how they’re being perceived.

Good branding is part of the job/career-search process  not just a catchy phrase.

The brand development process can help people find the spark that opens up their creativity. Understanding “what makes me different” is the key to brand identification.

Good branding – translated into careful career search – equals job satisfaction.

Job seekers who stop and think about who they are and what they have to offer are much more effective in their job search and happier where they land. Brand clarity leads to professional fulfillment.

Career management must incorporate branding in the process.

Documents must showcase who candidates are in a concise and powerful way. It is a crystallization of the message.

Personal Branding: THE NEXT

“Brand” is renamed as “focus.”

Such a change might help branding to gain wider acceptance and address the cultural issues of those who see results as group rather than individual efforts.

Personal branding is the new face of lifelong career management.

The new world of work is a world of self–‐ employment – either literally or figuratively. People need to manage their careers and view themselves as independent entities, not affiliated with a “caretaker” employer. A clear focus on brand and value will help.

Career business plans are the new trend.

Similar to the way people work with a personal trainer to set and meet fitness goals, they may work with a coach to create and execute career business plans that will help them stay in the spotlight and engaged in fulfilling work.

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