A successful personal brand differentiates you as a dynamic, growing professional, so it evolves along with market demands (employer requirements) and your growing skills. When your skills keep current with changing market demands, your brand stays relevant and you maximize your earnings potential. From a practical POV, this demands an objective way to track relentlessly changing employer needs.

A practical point of view (POV)

The most reliable approach is with a Gap analysis  (the gap between where we are and where we need to be) with a career-management focus.  And with the two additional applications that I’ll share at the end, this is a tactic you’ll be using for years.

Gap analysis

Step One. Collect 6 job postings for the job you would pursue if you were looking for one right now.

Step Two. Create a Word document where you will prioritize these employers’ needs.

Look through the job postings for a single requirement that is common to all six, then copy and paste it into your document.  Place #6 alongside the entry to identify that this requirement is common to all 6 job postings. Repeat this exercise for other requirements common to all 6 jobs.

Step Three. Repeat the exercise for all requirements common to five of the job postings, and then four, and so on all the way down to those requirements mentioned in only one.

Step Four. Review the document to identify the current, most cutting-edge skills required to execute each of these requirements.

Step Five. Review each individual requirement and recall the best person you have ever known doing that work and what made this person stand out. Do this conscientiously, and you will have a behavioral blueprint for professional success: a complete behavioral profile of the person everyone wants to work with, every employer wants to hire.

Step Six. Look one last time at each individual requirement and recall the worst person you have ever known doing that work and what made this person stand out. Do this conscientiously as well and you will have a complete behavioral profile of the person no one wants to work with, no employer wants to hire; in other words, a behavioral blueprint for guaranteed professional failure.

The completed document is a profile of the skills and behaviors you need for a marketable brand today. Do this on a regular basis to maintain the cutting edge skills that differentiate your brand.

I promised you two other applications for this neat little career management tool:

  • This same process guarantees your résumé focuses on employer priorities.
  • For a promotion, decide on the title of your target job and this same exercise will deliver a skill development plan to qualify you for that next step up the professional ladder.


Martin Yate (CPC) is the author of Knock em Dead The Ultimate Job Search Guide, a NY Times bestseller updated annually for 24 years.  He’s been in career management  for 34 years: Silicon Valley Headhunter and VP with the seminal and feared Executek, Director of HR for Bell Industries Computer Memory Division, Director of Training and Development for Dunhill . Martin believes that change is your future, branding is critical, but no one has ever taught you how to navigate this stuff.