Friday, June 10, 2011

Branding Yourself (Revisited)

In 1950 there were around 3000 MBA’s awarded. We are now awarding about 170,000 annually. What does this mean for you? Well, right away it means your degree won’t set you apart as much as it once did. You need to have more. You need to develop something that the other competitors in your market can’t. You need to brand yourself, make yourself an asset. If you have been reading this blog since inception, you will remember a quick post on branding yourself. Branding yourself used to put you ahead of the curve. At this point, if you aren’t branding yourself, you may not even be charted on the curve. You’re an outlier, and not the good kind. In the digital age you need to control what is being said about you. Do not allow word-of-mouth to be the main outlet of communication for your brand. There are obvious positive implications for word-of-mouth branding, but that is like sitting dirty dishes in the sink and letting them soak in hopes the liquid detergent will do all the work for you. Put the dishes in the dishwasher if you want results. Set the dial to the type wash you want, set a delay, set a buzzer to let you know when they are done and then press start. By doing this you have not only completed your task, it was done the way you wanted it to be done. Using word-of-mouth to carry out your branding message is great, but that needs to be a component that stems from the work you have put into branding yourself. One of the biggest things you can do is synchronize everything. Have the same look and feel on all of your social media outlets as well as items like your resume and portfolio. Maybe there is a logo you created that defines you, put it on everything. I once had a student that created a very cool logo with her initials and put it on her resume. It was very creative and showed those around her she was not the average college graduate trying to get a job. Even the little things make a huge difference. Also, when building your brand, know that you are always being interviewed. There are two types of interviews, formal and informal. Everyone understands the formal interview. These are the interviews that you sit down in an office wearing a suit and sweating in places you didn’t even know you could. You are a nervous wreck but you stumble through only later to find out you got the job. However, the other type, an informal interview, holds much more power. This interview can be taking place anywhere. The tricky part is, you may not even know it's happening. If you are lazy in class and you are not responsive the professors suggestions on how to improve, what do you think your professor will say about you when asked by one of your potential employers? You can take this as far as you would like. Everything from the way your comb your hair to the way you choose to tuck in your shirt, everything says something about you. Some people will be looking at the most peculiar things. But let’s face it; there are so many people in the job pool. Something must be the deciding factor.

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