personal brand in wood typeThis week I jumped at the chance to interview Dan Schawbel, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success. Dan is an expert on personal branding – and I think every one of us needs to be intentional about our personal brand.

Why is personal branding so important today?

Everyone is trying to stand out online and offline and the best way to do that is by establishing your personal brand. Your brand identifies you and positions you for specific opportunities that align to your strengths and interests. In the workplace, 65% of managers are looking to hire and promote subject matter experts. Online, if you aren’t positioned as a niche expert, then you won’t appear high in search engines and will be passed over. With so many people having online profiles and websites now, the impact of branding becomes much more important.

How have workplace rules changed – and how can people take advantage of the new rules?

First, your personal life is now public. Anything you publish about yourself, or that other people publish online about you, is visible to your co-workers and can be used against you. Second, you need to effectively work with people of different generations, including Gen X and Baby Boomers and Gen Z, sometimes all at once. Third, the one with the most connections wins because social currency is more important than anything else. The stronger your network at work, the more successful you will be.

Millennials as a generation have a less-than-stellar reputation as being “entitled” or “not team players.” What are the facts about this generation and their contributions to work & society?

In the study I did for the book with American Express, we found that millennials have a positive view of their managers, while their managers have a negative view of them. Their managers view them as entitled, lazy, and not focused. Millennials, compared to older generations, want companies to give back to society, not just make money. They embrace equality, diversity and team collaboration. While some millennials might be stereotypical, others are already starting businesses or working extremely hard to improve their work culture and performance.

Is personal branding primarily for millennials or might other generations benefit from promoting themselves?

Personal branding is for everyone, whether you’re a student or a CEO or a musician. The main premise behind personal branding is to become the best at what you do for a specific audience. In order to do that, we have to think like entrepreneurs. We have to figure out what makes our “product” different in the market and then capitalize on that. Branding yourself helps you stand out in the job market or build your business.

What is a first, easy step that someone can take to promote themselves in their workplace today?

The first step to promoting yourself in the workplace is mastering your current role. If you aren’t an expert at what you were hired to do and have proved your worth, then you are unable to expand your role at work. Once you become an expert in your role, people will take notice and your value will increase. In addition, people will be more likely to trust you with additional work and if you have a great idea, you might be able to test it out. By becoming the expert, you are trusted and are able to further build a brand at work.

What do you think? Add your thoughts and insights in the comments section below.

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S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: Good Comes First (2021) and The Culture Engine (2014).
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