Personal Brand? Many Baby Boomers struggle with this new term. I have to admit I did not understand it for a long time. In the olden days this was your reputation.
When I graduated from an engineering school in the late 1970’s, I went to work for IBM as a computer programmer developing word processors. (This was before the IBM PC existed!) A small number of us on the project were fresh out of college. We soon learned who was in charge, who knew what they were talking about, and who to avoid. All of these people had reputations both good and bad. This was the beginning of understanding the concept of a personal brand.
You might think of this as a meritocracy.
You were known for your accomplishments as well as the way you treated other people. It was crucial that others noticed your good work. If you sat in the corner, did a good job, and kept your nose clean, you still might remain invisible to the organization. Only if you worked on a critical piece of the project would anyone outside of your immediate team knew what you did.
Your reputation was known mostly within your group, team or project. If you moved from project to project, often your reputation followed you.
Let’s fast forward to the 21st century. With the rise of the Internet and Social Media came the rise of the concept of Personal Brand. I have worked on projects in the last dozen years with people from around the world. Your ability to promote your reputation uh… I mean your personal brand has expanded greatly.
Think about it. How many of your LinkedIn connections are from outside the city where you live? Outside the state where you live? Outside the country where you live?
Have you developed a reputation uh… I mean a personal brand from a blog, your comments on social media, or a personal website?
Many of you may be saying I do not have time for this!
Many of you may also be saying this is self promotion or even bragging about yourself. Growing up, many of us were taught that it was improper to promote ourselves. We were assured that only our hard work was necessary to be recognized and that any effort to attract attention to ourselves beyond that was immodest.
The world has changed. The people you work with can be just about anywhere. Your reputation uh… your personal brand can reach the span of the world. Just like when I was working for IBM, if you sit in the corner, do a good job and keep your nose clean, your good work may never get noticed.
What if you do not want to create a personal brand? Whether you like it or not you have one. Whether you like it or not you need to manage it!
How can you do this? Well, you are reading the Personal Branding Blog and I am going to be writing on your reputation uh… your personal brand from a Baby Boomer perspective once a week.
What have you done to promote your reputation uh… personal brand in the last week?
Marc Miller is founder of Career Pivot. Marc authored the book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers, published in January 2013, which has been featured on Forbes.com, US News and World Report, CBS Money-Watch and PBS’ Next Avenue.