- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On February 27, 2017
- Career management
Linkedin’s CEO, Reid Hoffman, talks of work today in terms of “tours of duty”—not a lifetime (not even long-term) job.
According to Hoffman “tours” last approximately four years (but with a review after two years). That’s how long a company can expect to sign up an employee to one job. After four years both sides should sit down and decide if another tour works for both parties. If not, you’re a “free agent”!
In fact, Seth Godin argues we are all an army of free agents, whether currently employed or not, and as free agents we need to position ourselves for our next gig. We become the product that we need to market. And that product needs a brand.
So what is your (personal) brand?
Who does Google say you are?
Want to get a quick snapshot of your brand? Google yourself.
What do you see when you Google your name? That’s a pretty good start on what people who don’t know you well will think of you.
Do the Google results reflect what you want people to think? Are you just MIA? Does someone else come up all over Google’s page one results not you?
Say you ever wanted a new job (it could happen you never know!) These Google results are what a potential employer will see. Are they seeing lots of great testimonials about you? Are they finding examples of your past work illustrating what you could do for them? Is there great content on that search results page that positions you as a marketing thought leader?
Discover your brand
Let’s assume your branding could use a little work. What can you do to improve it?
First of all, do you even know what you want? Your brand should correlate with where you want your career to go. If you don’t know where you want to go then you are like Alice per the Cheshire Cat:
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where —’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat
Here are a few questions from Dan Schawbel’s book Me 2.0 to get you started:
- What are my favorite activities?
- What are the top five personality attributes I’d use to describe myself?
- What are the top five personality attributes that others use to describe me?
- What personal attributes would I like to improve?
- What were my favorite classes in college?
- What are the key elements of a successful career (in my opinion)?
Think about your Linkedin page as your website home page. Peers and prospective employers will check you out on your Linkedin page. So what’s on your Linkedin page today? Is there content that is all aligned with brand you? If this were a services page on your website would you consider it a good page?
Linked allows you to add a lot more to your page these days than just a watered down version of your resume. You can add slides. You can add where you’ve been published. You can add blogs you’ve written.
This may sound a bit wild but you can even have your own website and/or blog representing “brand you”. You’re a marketer and websites and blogs are a big part of marketing today. If you were marketing any other product you’d probably want at least a website.
You can set up your own website or blog very easily these days. You can often buy a domain that’s in the format YourfirstnameYourlastname.com. Google tends to like domains that match search terms so a website on this domain will probably do well in a search for your name.
You can install WordPress on this domain and quite easily create a website (and/or blog). You can showcase all your achievements here and can go further including your best writing to not only describe what you’ve done but show what you can do.
Say one day someone really likes all this information they find about you on the Web and they would like to meet you. It’s still a good idea to have an “old fashioned” resume to send to them.
Take a look at your resume and see if it positions you in a way that is in sync with your brand. Does it convey what you want to convey? Take a look at the summary section you have at the top of your resume. Does that look like a good value proposition? Do you highlight what product You can do for someone? Do you sell the benefits of using product You?
When was the last time you updated your resume? It’s not a great idea to be scrambling to update your resume the same day somebody wants to see it.
So what’s your brand? What makes you unique? What can you do for others? Does your brand live up to the standards you use for your professional marketing work?
In a world of free agents you need to market you.