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Personal Branding and Me 2.0 (Part 1)

Posted on Saturday, Apr 25th 2009

By Guest Author Dan Schawbel

[What is brand you? How can people use new technology to create and maintain their personal brand, and why should they want to do so? For the next two weekends, Dan will take on these questions through excerpts from his new book, ‘Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success.]

Personal branding is about unearthing what is true and unique about you and letting everyone know about it. As a brand, you are your own free agent: you have the freedom to create the career path that links your talents and interests with the right position and the ability to move both vertically and horizontally, now and throughout your career. You can even switch career paths when you feel it is necessary.

You also have the opportunity to stand out and make a name—through your brand—for yourself. The fact that owning a website is so easy gives everyone a chance to develop and market a personal brand that shows the world who they are and what they’re capable of. For instance, on the Web, you have the opportunity to promote brand YOU by joining a social network and using your page as a billboard to advertise your talents and goals.

Thanks to technology, you can reap the same rewards as the billion-dollar brand names, from Trump to Gucci, through effective marketing. Creating a brand isn’t just about technology, though. By focusing on delivering results, being remarkable, and learning new skills to adapt to our ever-changing world, you can make your brand memorable, and opportunities for success will follow.

Don’t think of the brand called YOU as being confined strictly within a single corporate environment. Even if your current job description and title put you in a corner, both literally and practically, you can—and should—stand out as an individual with a unique set of talents and marketable skills. Remember, no employment contract spans a lifetime, which means you have the mobility and freedom to shape your career path as you see fit.

  • If you’re on a career path that makes you happy—work it. Make the most of your talents and skill set to achieve maximum success.
  • If you’re on a career path that does not make you happy—change it. Find the right path for you and focus on making it work.
  • If you’re unsure about your future—define it. Weigh all the factors that matter to you and find the career path that fits best.
  • You need to approach your career in terms of differentiation (standing out in the crowd) and marketability (providing something other people want or need). Why would someone choose your brand?

  • A robust professional network
  • Endorsements from respected colleagues
  • Previous accomplishments with cataloged results
  • A diversified and unique skill set
  • The same rules that apply to corporate brands apply to personal brands. The successful brand YOU marketing model has the proper mix of confidence, passion, likability, determination, and focus. When you look at successful business leaders, such as Warren Buffet or Rupert Murdoch, you realize that each has a self-purpose, a call to action, and a desire to win. They all shared this marketing model, and you should too.

    Many people may view personal branding as a form of self-promotion and selfishness. In some ways it is, but this doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing! Developing your brand makes you a more valuable asset, whether to the company you work for, a potential employer, or your own enterprise. Don’t forget, it’s your future we’re talking about. Don’t you want to make it a success? Furthermore, by effectively branding yourself, your career success will translate into happiness outside the workplace as well.

    This segment is part 1 in the series : Personal Branding and Me 2.0
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    Great article Dan, I have been following you for a short period of time, mostly through Twitter updates, and the information you are providing has been invaluable to a rookie like myself.

    p.s. If you get a quick minute, come on over to our website and check it out, give us some feedback, maybe sign up, (it’s free) and post something. We are a start-up co. doing some really great things. Any support is welcomed. Let me know what I can do for you. If I can link to any demograph you are potentially trying to reach through your writing to possibly reach more users. Once again, thanks.


    Seth Pigate
    Director of Marketing Operations
    Divine Trust Inc.
    Centered Magazine
    Spartanburg, SC

    Seth Pigate Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 1:13 PM PT

    Interesting post!

    Marylene Delbourg-Delphis Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 1:26 PM PT

    I think this is excellent advice, Dan, especially for people who are already more established in their career.

    But what do we tell our young people, who are just starting out in this economic crisis? They don’t yet have the robust network, nor the recommendations. I read your book and know you managed to really chart your course, but not everyone is as focused as you are.
    What steps do you recommend to young college graduates or professionals who haven’t yet built a track record?

    Angelika Blendstrup Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 9:31 PM PT