By ALEXANDRA LEVIT
It used to be enough to walk into a job search with an impressive résumé. If you were really enterprising, maybe you'd have a portfolio to showcase your best work. Now, though, people want a better way to stand out, and that has resulted in the very 21st-century concept of personal branding.
If you've been in the workplace longer than 10 years, you might be thinking that personal branding was actually born in 1997, when management guru Tom Peters wrote about "the brand called you."
But never before has personal branding been so mainstream. The Internet makes it possible for everyone to establish a brand, and if you don't know what yours is, now is the time to find out.
Experts such as Dan Schawbel, the author of "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success," define personal branding as how we market ourselves to other people. Your brand should be strong and memorable enough to set you apart and to make a positive impression on people you don't know.
Show You Can Do the Job
"Personal branding serves as career protection in uncertain times," says Mr. Schawbel. "It's also a critical tool for reinventing yourself because you can leverage the reputation and skill set you already have to prove you have the ability to do the job you want."
A veteran of the recruitment research field, 41-year-old Jim Stroud developed an early interest in social media. Hoping to launch a new career in the field, Mr. Stroud built an online brand as "The Searchologist."
"A searchologist is … someone who is proficient in searching the Internet" for people who aren't actively seeking new jobs, he explains. His presence in search engines and networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as a podcast series and blog, led Mr. Stroud to his job as social-media development manager for EnglishCafe, an English learning community for global professionals.
So how do you create a personal brand? Start by understanding where you are in your career and where you're going.
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