I was recently asked to conduct a Train the Trainer session with Program Managers for a major university’s continuing education organization. They wanted a brief session on the importance of Personal Branding.
The Program Managers were specifically interested two things:
1. The concept of personal branding as a career tool
2. How incoming students are using personal branding and social media to extend that brand
I was delighted to provide the service. As many of my readers and Twitter followers know, I teach Social Media Marketing at the UCLA Extension. I’ve blogged about that experience on this blog and on my Teaching Social Media at UCLA blog.
Personal branding as a career tool
First off, kudos to Dan for focusing on this very important topic on this blog, in his upcoming book, etc. I believe personal branding is one of THE main differences in today’s job environment from the past. It’s as if we’re entering a parallel universe – those who get personal branding and are maximizing the concept in their careers, and those who don’t. The jury is still out, but I believe those who get it will be way ahead of those who don’t.
There is alot being written today on personal brand development and communication. My first recommendation to the Program Managers was to get familiar with the concept. Often that starts with the familiar Tom Peters The Brand You article from Fast Company, 1997. From there, I suggest people do the research, and include Chris Brogan’s 100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Media.
Bottom line, it’s a new world out there and Personal Branding is front and center. Being comfortable with promoting yourself is critical. This doesn’t mean become an obnoxious used car salesperson. This means be able to articulate your experiences and strengths quickly and succinctly. Social Media then enables you to build relationships and therefore build your networks.
Personal branding and college students
I agree with Dan that college students who don’t know about personal branding are at a severe disadvantage in today’s market reality. Every day we hear about massive job losses – 100,000 one day, 50,000 the next. And many economists say we’re not even close to the end of this bad news. Personal branding in this context can absolutely make the difference in getting noticed, getting the interview, getting hired, getting ahead. Again, the necessity to understand and articulate your strengths and capabilities is becoming a “must have” like never before.
My message to the training participants was that some students are doing this, some aren’t, and many are building
brands they aren’t even aware of . That trip to Mexico at spring break may not be as flattering later on as it seemed when it was uploaded to your Facebook page. Students need to know this and beware their “digital DNA”. Everything can and will end up on Google.
Continuing education for the educators
I was encouraged by the Program Manager’s interest in the topic and their willingness to concede it is a brave new world and personal branding can and will make a difference at every level. The next session with them will be on using Social Media tools to promote that brand and building networks. I’m looking forward to it!
Beverly Macy is Managing Partner at Y&M Partners LLC in Beverly Hills. She also teaches a social media class at UCLA and is organizer of the Gravity Summit event at UCLA February 25, 2009.