In a less secure professional world than anyone has ever known, you need a tougher, more pragmatic approach to managing your professional life. It’s time to stop thinking of yourself simply as a professional job title and an employee, because this point of view has you psychologically shackled to entities that can, and will, dispose of your services at short notice.
Instead, start to think of yourself as Me, Inc., a corporation that operates in the best interests of its shareholders for their (i.e. your) long-term economic success. When you use a more corporate mindset and replicate the operational behavior of a corporation, you will dramatically improve your odds of reaching life goals.
Me, Inc., like any other company, needs products and services that evolve to meet the changing needs of its customers (employers). These products and services are the bundle of skills, behaviors, and values that define the professional you. To succeed over the average career span (some 50 years),
Me, Inc. must develop, differentiate, and sell these skills to a targeted customer base: employers who hire people like you.
Your success depends on how well you coordinate the activities of the different departments that allow you to operate profitably. A successful Me, Inc. needs these departments:
Product Research & Development
To keep your skills in sync with market demands. Keeping tabs on what employers are looking for allows you to build the skills that make you a marketable commodity and maintain a viable brand.
To develop strategies and tactics for professional growth. Strategic planning looks at the horizon and at the tactics you use today to get where you want to be tomorrow. You need offensive and defensive career management strategies, planning for consistent professional growth yet being prepared for recessions, layoffs, age discrimination, and the like.
Accounting & Finance
For fiscal prudence. Most professionals are good consumers, whose media-induced craving for instant gratification leads them to live beyond their income and borrow against their dreams. People like you, on the other hand, are going to focus on building the company—in other words, your brand—living within your means now so that you really get to live those dreams for all your tomorrows.
For positioning, branding, and sales. Marketing communications (Marcomm) initiatives establish visibility and credibility in your marketplace. This includes your active involvement in professional networks, like LinkedIn.com, to create an ever-widening web of professionally useful contacts. Your involvement helps build skills and relationships, and you become increasingly visible to headhunters.
Me, Inc. is only as stable as its sales strategies are reliable. This means getting your resume, job search, interview, and career management skills ramped up to a higher level, so that job changes happen on your timetable. Once in a new position, your Strategic Planning and Marcomm activities will mean you have tactics in place to land plum assignments, raises, and promotions.
Rethink your place as a pawn in someone else’s game, and you can gain control over your destiny. In this less secure world, commitment to a Me, Inc. mindset allows you to reinvent and brand a newly empowered you.
This article is part of a series on Personal Branding. Stay tuned to the Knock ’em Dead Blog for more advice on how to make your personal brand stand out in a crowd.
Read more about how to build your personal brand during your job search in the upcoming Knock ’em Dead Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World
Join Martin every week to learn more about writing a killer resume, getting more job interviews and turning job interviews into job offers at his free weekly webcast, Mondays at noon central. Details: http://my.knockemdead.com