At our 40Plus meeting on Dec. 8, Shira Harrington spoke about finding your personal brand.
According to Ms. Harrington, your “tribe” is your industry or affiliation. Think about who you serve, “What is your tribe?” These will most likely be the people who can understand the technical jargon in your profession or people who can empathize with your war stories.
This is to be distinguished from your “lane” (or highway), which is who you serve, and you must ask yourself “What is your lane?” (or your career path).
“WHO” and “HOW” you serve form the first two components of four. You must also ask “WHY” you serve or isolate your value as well as in what “WAY” you serve or the qualities of how you will serve.
The three most important things you can do is to be clear about who you are and who you’re not (clarity); you must also steadfastly express your brand across all communication vehicles (consistency); and strong brands are always visible to their target audience (constancy).
Make sure your brand is consistent in your resume and LinkedIn summary. Most companies now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and it is important to stand out from the person next to you.
Ms. Harrington also gave the 40 Plus audience a “Passionitivity Exercise” in which she challenged everyone to find their own lane. In a four quandrant matrix, the upper left quadrant was labeled “High Motivation”, the upper right quadrant “Areas of Professional Development”, lower left quadrant “Stop-Gap Work” and lower right quadrant “Area of Disengagement” where normally the underperformers are. (Ms. Harrington’s advice to work in this area is “Don’t do it!”)
Most people lie in the “Stop-Gap Work” area, however things are changing, and more people are acknowledging that this is no longer enough. With respect to resumes, Ms. Harrington said an accomplishment should only be called out to reinforce your brand.
In conclusion, Ms. Harrington told the audience to memorize this phrase: “I need to show up before my resume does.”
• Professional Presence: A Four-Part Guide to Building Your Personal Brand by Peggy Noe Stevens
• The Brand You 50: On Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an ‘Employee’ into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion! by Tom Peters
• Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future by Dorie Clark