“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson’s sentiment is at the core of personal branding.
Telling people who you truly are helps them understand your unique value better, and can accelerate your executive job search.
Defining and communicating your personal brand helps you do that.
People start the personal branding and content development process eager to be authentic.
They’re revved up about working with me to define their brand.
They’re excited about digging deep.
They’re anxious to uncover their unique set of strengths, key personal attributes, values, passions (in other words, their personal brand).
They want to tell me all about all the qualifications that make them a good fit for their target employers.
They “get it” when I explain that branding is all about differentiating their value proposition from their job seeking competitors,
They know that branding is no longer optional . . . and that branding will help them land the job they want.
In the end, they’re worried about putting themselves “out there”.
When the moment of truth arrives, some of them are resistant to being authentic . . . curiously, more often than lower level job seekers.
Suddenly, when they read the rich, brand-reinforcing content we’ve collaborated on, they’re afraid to go with it.
It all feels too personal and, frankly, boastful.
It’s not like most of the LinkedIn profiles and executive resumes they’ve seen for other candidates like themselves.
Apologetically, they back down from any content that conveys personality or shows who they are, and what they’re like to work with.
They’re convinced that sameness is the way to go
They opt for stripping away all but the generic content that could apply to just about anyone like them.
They settle on sameness.
They think it’s best, after all, for their job search materials to read just like the other guys’.
The content they’re comfortable with is flat.
None of their personality is evident.
They support this decision by stating that sameness worked for them the last time they were job hunting . . . more than ten years ago.
They forget that they need to be authentic to succeed in today’s executive job search.
They forget (or don’t grasp the fact) that sameness will not help employers and hiring decision makers distinguish them from the pack.
They forget why branding in executive job search is no longer optional:
- Without branding, they will have a hard time standing out from everyone else.
- Without branding, they will have a hard time positioning and marketing their ROI (Return on Investment).
- Without branding, they will have a hard time articulating that ROI when networking and interviewing.
- Without branding, they will have a hard time landing a good fit executive job . . . trailing their competitors who DID embrace branding.