Tips and strategies for brand "You"

We are all part of a new and fast-changing world. How can we stay ahead of the competition and position ourselves for career success? Lynda Aurora guides you on these pages every second week

The new world of work is about personal branding. "That's not me!" you protest. Let's have a reality-check. Jobs as we know them are disappearing faster than we care to admit - impacted by globalisation and reallocation to lower-cost countries. People have to create their own lives, careers and successes. It seems unfair and not what you signed up for, but this is how it is. The sooner you accept this, the better.

Shake off those inhibitions and start focusing on "Brand You":

1. What is your unique selling proposition?
What makes you stand out from the zillion other accountants, managers, salespeople or teachers? If you do not get a handle on this and manage your career, you could easily end up on the employment scrap-heap.

Consider getting an objective perspective by conducting a survey among your friends, colleagues, bosses and mentors, identifying and defining your uniqueness.

2. How and where will you position yourself?
We are often as guilty as some consumer products, trying to be all things to all people. The difficulty lies in getting a handle on one concept, let alone several. Think about your positioning by selecting one specific concept. This is the only way to have an impact on people.

Next, manage and establish your career by exploiting the positioning and concept identified above. Most people are not focused enough to do this and expect others to do it for them.

For example, I am the best forensic accountant in Hong Kong. This can be achieved with talent, some luck and a lot of strategy. First, isolate the concept that you are going to use to establish your position.

3. Review classified advertisements for positions matching your career concept.
Analyse the requirements and identify gaps in your experience. Write a list of the soft and hard skills and experience the positions require. Arrange interviews with people whose jobs you would like to have and ask them how they got there. If they were replacing themselves, what would they be looking for?

4. "We are known by the company we keep."
This saying is even more important when choosing your employer. Ensure that the company is growing and will have opportunities to develop, personally and technically, in alignment with your positioning and the construction of your personal brand.

5. Now that you are in the right company, the next challenge is the boss.
Is (s)he going somewhere you want to go? Ideally, work for the smartest, most competent person you can find. Review today's business leaders and note how many have moved up the corporate ladder right behind their boss - ending up as CEO. If your boss is going somewhere, there is a good chance that you are too.

6. More than ever, "It's not what you know, it's who you know".
Most big breaks happen because of a business friend's recommendation. It is essential to build and nurture your business network.

Don't delay! The time to build "Brand You" is now - as your future depends on it.

Lynda Aurora FCCA ACA CPA MBA MA-HRM PCC is a career coach partnering with people who want to reassess their career options, get strategies to improve their work performance and employability or are in career transition. She is Asia's first and only Professional Certified Coach Member of the International Coach Federation.
Website address:

Taken from Career Times 19 September 2003
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