Your Professional Brand: The Difference Maker in the Future of Work
There is no argument that the workplaces of the future will look vastly different than those of today. Technology, economic conditions, and post-Pandemic business practices are creating unprecedented changes in the ways we prepare for and carry out work. We’re now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution in which fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing will radically transform almost every industry. This revolution began in 2016 as changes resulting from the unprecedented advances in technology precipitated major changes in the way we live and work. In its The Future of Jobs 2018 report, the World Economic Forum observed that “These transformations, if managed wisely, could lead to a new age of good work, good jobs and improved quality of life for all, but if managed poorly, pose the risk of widening skills gaps, greater inequality and broader polarization.”
The vast, rapid changes in the world of work require resilience, innovation, inventiveness, and adaptability. As you prepare for this future of work, developing and expressing both a personal and a professional brand is imperative. In our digital world, there’s little difference between your personal and professional brand. Almost all employers research online the candidates they are most interested in, which is about your personal brand on some sites and your professional brand on others. Your brand, for better or worse, is expressed through the online presence in the social media sites you use. Your brand is who you are and what distinguishes you from others. It’s the story of what is unique about you and what you can bring to the table. Your professional brand stems from your personal brand and needs to be authentic. It’s the story of the value you’ve added in previous jobs and how you’ve made contributions to your team or to the organization or how you could do this in the future. It’s your professional brand that will give you the edge over other similarly qualified applicants for the job(s) you want to secure. Your brand needs to be expressed on your resume, in interviews, in talking with recruiters and with anyone in your network who may be involved in your success in your career.
So, what’s the best way to develop the level of clarity about yourself---who you are, what makes you unique, the value you add through the contributions you make--- that is necessary to build and define your brand? The best approach is to start with a thorough exploration of who you are in four critically important areas: your abilities, interests, personality, and values. Understanding yourself in these four areas is the keystone for you to express your uniqueness, in other words, your brand, to others. The combination of these four areas is what makes you YOU. Career assessments in these four areas provide a good starting point of your exploration to answer the critically important question, “Who Am I?” I use The Highlands Ability Battery, the Strong Interest Inventory, The Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and the Knowdell Values assessment. I’ve used these assessments with hundreds of individuals in various stages of development-- high school, college, young professionals, mid-life career changers, and older individuals who still seek satisfying and rewarding careers and may be at turning points in their lives. The resulting level of self-understanding is usually tremendously increased and provides a strong foundation on which to build or change careers as well as develop your brand.
As you prepare for the transformational changes in work brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, you can position yourself most optimally for a successful career by developing a strong professional brand and knowing how to express it. The resilience and adaptability you need to adjust to the tremendous changes in the world of work can be managed most effectively through a thorough understanding of your abilities, interests, personalities, and values as they relate to career choices in the present and future for meaningful work. As new occupations and ways of working continue to develop, expressing your professional brand based on your understanding of who you are will be the difference-maker in your success!