Thanks to a tweet from Richard Dedor, Chris Reaburn and I were last minute attendees at a Kansas City PRSA lunch session by Dan Schawbel based on his book Me 2.0 - Build a Personal Brand to Achieve Career Success.
The talk was part of a career day for students interested in PR, so the average audience age was 20. As a result, the slant of the personal branding ideas Dan Schawbel shared was customized for the industry and audience life stage.
The personal branding ideas he covered were nonetheless applicable to anyone working on heightening their own identities. From talking with many people mid-career professionals in transition, however, they tend to be woefully behind on how personal branding applies to their own career situations.
3 Personal Branding Ideas for Mid-Career Professionals
1. Volunteering for meaningful assignments with professional associations is a great mid-career internship.
Dan Schawbel highlights the necessity of internships for college-age job seekers. Mid-career professionals seeking new jobs have similar opportunities. I speak with many people whose current job is "looking for a job." There's no sizzle and not much built-in skill development there. Yet associations relevant to you are likely looking for knowledgeable mid-career professionals to take on assignments.
One great thing about a smartly-chosen volunteer project is you typically have room to make it much cooler than anyone in the association ever expected. The result is you get to experiment, learn, and have something with sizzle to lead with when networking.
2. Mid-career, it's imperative to assess your personality and get on with changing what's not working.
My advice to people who leave for other companies is always to think about who they want to be in a new job, because it's the only opportunity to create a "new" you. Dan makes the point it's tremendously challenging to reinvent yourself in the age of (nearly) total visibility to your online presence.
That's true, but if you continually trip yourself up through the same behaviors, do the self-help, career coaching, or counseling necessary to eliminate rough spots. Become if not a new, at least a "new formula" you.
3. Mid-career professionals need a solid, actively growing offline and online network.
Dan Schawbel is right when he says a larger network has the potential to work much harder for you. As a mid-career professional, you should be good at determining the highest value people in your network.
What personal branding ideas do you have to share?
Personal branding is of increasing interest, so look for more personal branding ideas in the future. Let me know how we can deliver value to you as part of the Brainzooming family! - Mike Brown