Don’t let your “Personal Brand” go Cold this winter

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February 1, 2011
coldI am sure that I am one of many out there today sitting in their kitchens getting their work done at home instead of risking the weather and heading to the office. Actually, for me it is not so much the thought of going out in the weather, but more  the fear of leaving my two boys home alone if things get really ugly out there today. I hate to admit this, but anything close to 30 degrees these days almost seems warm…a clear indication that winter has been long and cold this year.

Anyway, this time of year it is even more difficult than usual to socialize, stay engaged and to build new networks. Let’s face it – it is dark, gray, cold and nasty out there. Given the choice, wouldn’t we all choose home vs. nature?  There has to be something in it for us to give up the comforts of home and our down comforters to go out there to meet new people and socialize.

Well, here is what is in it for you.  Your network and your personal brand are like living breathing organisms. They require constant nourishing and exercise in order to thrive in a way that is healthy and helpful.  These things evolve over time and become stagnant or even extinct if we do not work to maintain them. Even the most vibrant social creatures need to be planful and conscientious about the networks they are building and the personal brand they are creating for themselves.

As I was doing some research on this topic today, I came across a post by Dan Schwabel called Branding in a Personal World. Dan is an expert in personal branding so I suggest you take a look at this article for some good advice. Dan states "You have to manage your career as a brand if you want to be successful and compete in the global economy…

Personal branding is the process by which we unearth what makes us special and then communicate that to the right audience.

There are so many people competing for the same opportunities now. Personal branding teaches us how to stand out, be found, and align our true authentic selves with the careers of our dreams."

Remember when it was your resume and cover letter that needed to stand out from the rest in order to get noticed? Now it is how you brand yourself in many other ways. Your personal brand becomes your resume of sorts. It tells the story of your career, your capabilities and your value.

This concept can get scary for some if you think that the only way to accomplish this is through an online social presence. Well, that is definitely one way to do it and a quick way to reach a lot of people. However, this is not the only way. Personal interaction and networking is just as valuable and a healthy combination of BOTH is what is required to stand out in the crowd.  The risk we take in focusing only on our o line social network is that we stop communicating live, face to face, with other human beings. Nothing will ever replace the impact one can make through a real, live conversation about how they can add value in the workplace.

Dan refers to the 2010 Kelly Global Workforce Index (yes, I did just mention a competitor in my blog post – demonstrates maturity and confidence) which talks about the importance of soft skills and communication skills in the workplace. The importance of soft skills are outpacing the hard skills by a significant margin.  So get out there and show your face, engage others in the Indianapolis job market and get a personal handle on local hiring trends and job opportunities by TALKING to people.  Practice those soft skills and get to really know people who can help you in your career development and maybe even with your next step.

Remember, even if you have a job, your Indianapolis job search is never really over. As we have all experienced over the past 18-24 months, everything from management jobs to entry level jobs in Indianapolis have been affected by what is happening locally and globally in the economy. Do not be left out in the cold because it was too much work to get out there and network or because you were much more comfortable watching Jersey Shore reruns on TV, wrapped up in your favorite blanket on the couch.