Managing your personal brand is a lot harder in the rapid-paced, dynamic, ever-changing, digital world of today. Pay attention to these six important career success trends so you remain valuable and viable in the world of work.
Effective personal branding sits at the intersection of authenticity and aspiration. Tenure is waning. Forrester Research predicts that “today’s youngest workers are more likely to have 15 or more jobs in their lifetime.” Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey revealed that Gen Zers expect to stay with their current employer for fewer than two years. Combine this with the shrinking life expectancy of companies and you can see that the one-company lifetime career is long gone. The security you feel “working for the man (or the woman)” is probably false security. That’s why you need to always be thinking about and be ready for “What’s next.”
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy gave us manscaping. Now, prepare yourself for brandscaping. It’s a noisy world and it’s getting noisier. To be heard in this world requires steadfast focus and purity. You’ll get lost in the clamor if your message isn’t clear, consistent, and constant. Brandscaping means excising the extraneous stuff that distracts, detracts, or disorients so you come across as pristine, potent, and powerful. Effective personal branding means identifying the one thing for which you want to be known. When you’re singing the same note all the time, you’ll stand out from the noise and be recognized and remembered.
The days of relying on your company to give you all the learning opportunities you need to succeed are long gone. Most of the responsibility—and opportunity—has been switched to you. And the speed of change in the workplace demands that you make learning a deliberate daily activity. Look at training like walking on a treadmill. You can’t stand still on a treadmill that’s in motion. If you don’t keep moving forward, you’ll fall off the back and be left behind. The same is true of learning. If you aren’t actively learning every day, you’ll quickly lose your relevance. In The Expertise Economy, Degreed CLO Kelly Palmer says “Learning needs to be customized for each individual based on their skill and knowledge gaps, personal and professional goals, and specific interests.” That means it’s your responsibility to determine what and how to learn.
There’s an increasing fluidity between working for a company and working for your company. Rigidity is gone when it comes to the entrepreneurial-intrapreneurial divide. Online communities are being built to support this paradigm. Remote.com for example, with over 2 million members brings together people who are working remotely for a company with entrepreneurs and solopreneuers. Employees who have an entrepreneurial mindset are in demand among today’s most desirable employers. The mantra you need to adopt is “I am the CEO of my brand.” When you’re working inside a company, think and behave like an owner.
5. Digital First
We live in a relationship economy, where influencing others is essential for being able to make things happen. When people want to learn about you, they’ll start a Google search, enter your name and check out the results. I call it he-surfing or she-surfing, and it’s a phenomenon that’s here to stay. Mitch Joel, the author of Ctrl Alt Delete, speaks of a digital-first posture. He acknowledges that the web is often the first place we go when we want to learn about something—or someone. If your initial impression is lackluster, you’re squandering opportunities and will be left behind. Proactively building and maintaining your digital brand is not frivolous or egocentric, it’s a career essential.
Two key workplace trends are creating the perfect environment for video to take over as the most important form of business communications. The first trend is remote work. We rarely sit alongside all the people we work with regularly. The second trend is the over-saturation of text-based communications. Video allows you to deliver a complete communication and connect more deeply and emotionally with those you seek to influence. And it cuts through the clutter of content that’s made up of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Video will ultimately replace email and texting as a more powerful and valuable medium. YouTube is already the second-largest search engine after Google. Video conferences will become the norm and vmail will replace email. Get comfortable with video now while it’s still differentiating.
When crafting your career goals and plans for the year, consider the impact of these six personal branding trends.
William Arruda is the cofounder of CareerBlast and author of Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age.