You’ve heard the advice, but maybe you are uncomfortable:
Why standing out is more important than ever
How to get noticed in a crowded world
More than ever, your career opportunities are dependent on your reputation. The good news is that there are more tools than ever to help you get started.
Dan Schawbelis a columnist at Time and Forbes. He is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you haven’t read his many articles and blog posts, you may have heard or seen him in the media. As I was reading his latest book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, I happened to catch an interview with him on National Public Radio. He is an expert on personal branding and understanding and reaching the Millennial generation.
What are the top 5 reasons that personal branding so important?
What do you say to critics who say that personal branding is self-centered and egotistical?
I really don’t think it’s possible to build a strong brand without the support of those around you. I also don’t think that being selfish is necessarily a bad thing, especially in a tough economy like this. Being selfish, in some regard, is a way of saying “I’m investing in myself so I can become more valuable and in doing so help others.” As long as your intention is to help others today or in a year, everyone benefits from you being selfish. Those that have built strong brands have empowered others to build their own and promoted their work.
“Become the expert your company can’t live without” is powerful advice. What steps do you recommend to make this a reality?
In Promote Yourself I talk about how you need to become an expert in your field. 65% of managers are looking to hire and promote experts, not generalists. You need to align your strengths to areas in your company that need improvement. Back when I worked at a Fortune 200 company, I was the only social media resource. If a department wanted to learn social media or use the tools for their own purposes, they almost had to contact me. This truly makes you valuable to your group and to your company, while at the same time giving you visibility which creates opportunities.
You talk about the importance of social media. Why is it critical for leaders to understand and leverage social media?
Social media is the fabric of our society at this time. I started using it in 2006 because I realized that it puts everyone on the same plane, regardless of job title. Through social media you can easily connect with people in your company, profession or industry, which creates opportunities. Another aspect of social media is that the customer now has a voice, and people, in general, are moved by experts and influencers. Leaders need to understand social media because it’s a channel that people will use to follow them if they have something interesting or important to say.
How did you use social media to propel your career?
Social media has a profound impact on my career. Through blogging and social networks, I was profiled in Fast Company in 2007, then my company created the first social media position for me, then it helped launch my business in 2010. What I realized back then was that blog readers and commenters could be transitioned into customers and sponsors. In addition, social media helped me rank high for certain terms in Google, which led to a lot of media, which helped me build my brand.
Share a little of your research about Millennials. What do managers think about Gen Y and what do Gen Y workers think about managers? What conclusions can we draw?
Gen Y’s have an overall positive view of their managers, yet their managers have a negative view of them. I find this same trend with Gen Y and Gen Z. It seems like every generation has a negative view of the upcoming generation. This is important because it is where some of the generational arguments are derived from. I say we drop all of these stereotypes and start focusing on the value of what each individual person brings to the table regardless of age or gender.
In a few years, Millennials will make up the largest part of the workforce. What changes should we expect ahead?
Millennials are currently 36% of the American workforce and will overpower the other generations, percentage wise, starting next year. As more boomers exit, more millennials will start seizing management roles. This is exciting because the workforce will have new voices, views and change that is good. Millennials want more honest leaders, companies to give back to society and training and development opportunities. Companies need to understand these changes in order to fully capitalize on this demographic.