Executing a Career Branding strategy requires a plan. It does not matter if you are gainfully employed or currently in the midst of a job search. You need to define the where, what and how of your personal branding strategy. If you embrace this methodology you will have a roadmap to follow. If you do not you are driving you car in a rural area with no map, no GPS, no cell phone and you are simply hoping your gas will hold out until you find your destination. Navigating by the sunset is simply not a precise enough plan.
“The where” is in strategic planning parlance, your Vision Statement. That is, where would you like to see the self actualization of your career be in 5, 10 or 15 years. Your where, should be forward looking, aspirational in context, yet achievable.
As you consider your where, it’s important to note, for the majority of people, it’s fairly safe to assume your current role will not exist a decade from now. Technology is simply moving too fast and business cycles for companies are accelerating. This means the days of working for a single company in a single role for your entire career is no longer likely. You need to plan for this!
“The what” is effectively your strategy to make your vision (or where) happen. Your what should not be singular in dimension. To ensure success, companies almost always embark on a multiple strategies simultaneously. This allows for multiple channels to achieve success. Returning to the driving your car analogy, there are multiple ways to get to your destination. By pursuing several strategies you have a higher likelihood of getting there.
For personal and career branding purposes simply answer:
What do you want people to immediately think of when they hear your name?
The how is effectively the tactics you are going to choose to execute to make the what happen. Career Branding strategic tactics include:
- Network with people who could assist you in achieving your vision.
- Be visible as an individual with advanced or specialized skills.
- Establish forums demonstrating your thought leadership (you do not need to be THE thought leader, just be well versed in the strategies, approaches, and tactics being used today and considered for tomorrow.)
- Promote and communicate your personal brand. Make your name synonymous with your what.
A career branding process consists of the following primary building blocks:
- You must begin with an honest assessment of your current position.
- You must clearly identify your desired future state. (The Where)
- You should undertake, a cerebral evaluation of the gap between 1 & 2 and then assess the critical issues to be resolved in order to close the gap. (The What)
- Finally you create action steps to resolve the critical issues. (The How)
- Remember…thoughtful planning can be as insightful as the actual final plan.