By: Caroline Ceniza-Levine
In a recent Forbes post, I wrote about the decline of traditional employment, with part of the solution being to build your brand, instead of a resume.
A strong-branded product has loyal customers in good and bad economic times. You, too, want to build your brand to preserve your marketability in both good and bad job markets. In a future without jobs, you want to attract opportunities to you, so that the market comes to you – this includes having your network think of you when they hear of things! It is not enough to do a good job where you are; others need to know about you.
Here are 5 activities that establish your expertise to help you build your brand to keep your pipeline of opportunities full:
When I was in retained search, I frequently reached out to the speakers at conferences on topics relating to my openings. If you’re speaking, you build your brand as an expert.
This doesn’t mean you have to land on the TED stage! You can start with your alma mater, a local college, a professional association, or a religious or community organization in your neighborhood.
Similar to speaking, writing enables you to build your brand in the subject you cover. I coached an executive interested in establishing his biotech credibility (he had worked in Big Pharma) so he guest-blogged for a niche biotech newsletter, and it helped him connect with the readers who reached out after reading the piece. It also acted as tangible proof of his activity in this area.
Consider blogs in your specialty, newsletters from your professional or community groups, or the op-ed section for your regional paper.
If posting a full article seems like a stretch, consider commenting on other people’s posts to build your brand. If you add an insight or forward the discussion, especially if it’s within a professional association or industry blog, then you stay active among your peers.
If you have connections in the media, offer to be a resource for any stories in your area of expertise (check with your employer to see if there any restrictions on working with the press).
Social media is a great platform for curating your expertise, so you can build your brand even if you don’t write full length pieces from scratch. By posting links to news and trends about your area, you establish yourself as someone knowledgeable in that area. By commenting and sharing insights about your area, you demonstrate your expertise.
As a bonus, curating on social media does double duty as a form of networking!
Finally, mentoring is a triple duty career advancement activity – 1) you build your brand as an advisor; 2) you network your professional community (yes, interactions with junior colleagues is a key part of networking!); and 3) you get in-depth experience in coaching and communicating. If you don’t already have a mentee, your company may have a matching program, or check with your alma mater, a local college, professional associations, or community groups.
There are many ways to build your brand, and you can choose your activities based on your time constraints and preferences. In a future without jobs, you can’t rely on someone else to employ you. Build your brand to ensure your pipeline of opportunities stays full and relevant.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine is the author of Jump Ship: 10 Steps To Starting A New Career (Forbes Media, 2015) and has coached executives from Amazon, American Express, Condé Nast, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, Tesla and other leading firms.
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