Personal Branding is definitely a buzz to ordinary job seekers and quite familiar to entrepreneurs. This is synonymous to self-packaging, in which people and their skills or abilities constitute as brands. Any business cannot survive if not because of branding. This also holds true in applying a job; people need to have their own personal brands in order to sell in job hunting industry.
We often get trapped in the web of confusion, forcing our brain to think of ways on how to get a better job. Sometimes, we even take risky measures just to get the job we actually don’t like for the sake of having financial resources-that if not interminable, at least enough to sustain our daily needs.
Self-help books are crowding the shelf of bookstores, containing about advices in getting a job but none seems of help. There are step-by-step tips flowing through print and online media, television and radio. In reality, we sometimes could not fulfill all those seemingly simple steps that we often get lost where to start. The advent of Tom Peters’ article about personal branding is a big help. In his article, the steps and tips of getting a job are condensed in a nutshell. There is one, attainable way of getting a job, and that is understanding and applying the concept of personal branding. The concept sounds like a marketing jargon and it really is. The person is converted into a commodity and at the same time, a marketer and CEO of his own company that Tom coined as Me, Inc.
We define marketing as an ongoing process of planning and executing of the marketing mix of products, services or ideas to create exchange between individuals and organizations (Wikipedia). The very moment that we write our resume, or even at the instant of drafting it in mind, is already a process of marketing; and we have converted ourselves into a marketer. We become a marketer because the act of drafting our resume, writing and printing it on bond paper are already acts of marketing.
The term “marketing” inevitably elicits negative reactions from neophytes in the job industry because “selling” one’s self is unthinkable; the human being is downgraded into a commodity. Well, this is not really about downgrading, but conversion. There is no issue of human value depreciation in the process. This is not about the literal selling of humans, as in human trafficking and prostitution. That is inarguably unthinkable. The rampant misusing of the word “marketing” in the media can be partly blamed for giving it a bad connotation. This article will clean that out. Marketing in this article explains the beneficial and nothing but the ethical process. This article uses “marketing” in view of its definitive and functional similarities to job application processes only.
Come to think of it, making the “self” as a commodity to be sold is just the right metaphor. The “self” is the product and the recruiter or employer is its buyer. Selling literal goods is getting revenues after they are sold to the buyers, right? This is also the same when applying for a job; we get revenues in the form of salary after we are hired. The only difference between marketing and job application is the term used; résumé for ad, the recruiter or employer for buyer, the self for product or commodity, salary for income, and so on.
Personal branding simply means as a reputation and image building of one’s self. It involves two parties namely, “you” and “others.” “You” and “others” serve as the molders of a brand that Tom Peters calls YOU-the ultimate self that is readily marketable.
Personal branding is not social identity fabrication and should not be. There are processes involved such as identity optimization and personal visibility campaign. Do they sound like another SEO lingo? Yes, they are synonymous to what search engine optimization processes do to a website; optimize it to become visible in the web. Such as with personal branding, optimizing and being visible are two inseparable processes. Self or identity optimizing and being visible both take place concurrently. Unlike in the case of website optimization, the website needs to be optimized in order to be visible on the search engine result pages.
How does personal branding start? It actually starts from the very moment of publicly exposing our reputation as person. When we submit a resume, we already allow ourselves to be exposed to the people, the hiring officers and panel of interviewers later. All information we put in a resume are actually crumbs of our “self” that are translated into text organized by skills, experiences, and personal information. Interests and hobbies also speak of what a person is. That is why a resume should be carefully done that every detail is accurately written. The moment that the resume is done, a You brand is made. The You brand should be represented well in the resume.
The resume contains details that are like pieces of jigsaw puzzle; when assembled, the You is completed. How the skills and capabilities or the whole character is presented greatly affects in forming the brand You. The impression that the recruiter/employer makes contribute to the brand. Even whatever you say, like sending email messages, and whatever you do such as the way you walk and talk, also add to the attributes of the brand You.
The identity optimization or self-optimization is done on- or offline. But since we are in the era where the knowledge of Information Technology is a must; it is a trend to do it online. There are lots of websites in the Internet solely committed for job searching that are accommodating both local and international audience. Now, this is where online job networking comes into the picture.
Self-optimization is defined as enriching one’s image and reputation by means of minimizing the unnecessary attributes and surfacing the marketable ones. Do we need to change our attitude? Of course, we don’t have to. The change includes how we handle and deal with our attitude. Signing up in social networking sites that are as famous as Myspace, Facebook and Friendster help in the optimization. Make the brand You visible while highlighting only the marketable attributes. When we say marketable attributes, it speaks of our personal traits that recruiters/employers are looking for in a job applicant. In other words, you should put only information that we want our potential employer or hiring officer to see and read about you.
It is often tempting to put a photo of the self with a bottle of Vodka in hand or a photo exposing our bodies because it is “cool.” But that’s only in the eyes of our friends and definitely a turn off to hiring officers. Creating an account for online job networking sites (such as ICT Philippines) must be taken seriously. Every bit of information encoded matters. Our performance or achievements, growth, and value as a brand are the distinguishing factors in having us hired or not.
Self-optimization should be done along with self-marketing. It would be easy to market goods that are known to have satisfied the consumers, right? It is also the same thing happens and should happen to the brand You. Having yourself optimized well especially online (in which social networking sites plays a role, much as the online job and recruitment market), marketing would be easy. Although, some times it is a tedious job to do.
As Tom Peters said, to act selfishly would be inevitable as a CEO of Me Inc. To have yourself developed or rewarded and credited in the job you acquired somehow pertain to being selfish but the other side is that you have also helped in the company’s progress.
Personal branding is recently slowly gaining an eminence as an effective applicable concept in guiding people how to find the dreamed job. Many people are applying this concept already. Some companies of various businesses recognize this as one simple way of letting both parties (the job applicants and companies) get what they want to achieve in the complex world of industry of job seeking and human resources searching. Time will come that Personal Branding–its attainable concept will be practiced by most industries of all kinds anywhere in the world.