by Daryl D. Green
Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal received his doctorate degree from Barry University. After a year into NBA retirement and after 19 seasons in the league, Shaq decided to rebrand himself. Many NBA superstars leave college early with the desire of wealth and never obtain their degree. Shaq was different. After leaving college early for the NBA, O’Neal went back to school, earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and now doctorate’s degree in education. He had an internal motivation. Dr. O’Neal notes, “One, I promised my parents I would [follow my passion for education]. Two, I wanted to continue my education and three, I wanted to challenge myself.”
However, Shaq has managed to rebrand himself as more than an ex NBA superstar and separate himself from the pack. Likewise, millions of people must create their own brands if they want to compete in this economic crisis. Today’s job market requires that working adults develop their own personal strategy for employment. This article provides working adults ways to increase their success in more employment opportunities through personal branding.
The Economic Picture
The current economic crisis continues to stall job opportunities for millions. Yet, a college education isn’t cheap. According to the College Board, the average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges this school year rose 8.3% and with room and board now exceeds $17,000 a year. According to the Forrester Research, approximately 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $136 billion in wages could be moved overseas to countries like India or China by 2015. The industries potentially impacted include electronics, computer programming, telecommunications, banking, engineering, management consulting, and other highly skilled services. Therefore, many people are nervous about their future employment.
Personal branding allows individuals to stand out in the crowd. Personal branding can be defined as ‘the process whereby people and their careers are marked as personal impression or brand.’ Sir Richard Branson, Virgin executive, noted the importance of branding in the corporate environment: "Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful."
Branding includes personal appearance, communications, networks, or anything that identifies a person. Employers are looking for individuals who stand out beyond mediocre performance. Consequently, an effective personal brand can be a positive job strategy for today’s job applicant. However, most people haven’t been taught how to do create a personal brand. The following personal branding tips are provided:
(1) Evaluate your current online appearance so that your image makes a positive impression.
(2) Perform an online search on your name to see what potential employers are viewing.
(3) Determine your ideal personal brand and create a strategy for achievement.
(4) Develop a personal brand that will create an image of indispensability and uniqueness.
(5) Showcase your expertise on a variety of levels (blogs, media expert, etc.).
(6) Become a great source of information by writing and speaking.
(7) Champion a significant cause in a nonprofit organization such as United Way.
(8) Become the linchpin that connects people with problems to people with solutions.
(9) Extend your network globally with social media platforms such as Linkedin.com.
(10) Obtain special training or certifications to become more competitive.
As the financial crisis continues and the US labor market continues to weaken, many people are wondering how they will survive these difficult times. With the fierce competition for limited jobs, they wonder if they will be able to land a good job in the marketplace. Today, working adults are bombarded with many obstacles. However, they can make a positive step in navigating these difficult economic times and landing their future jobs. Now is the perfect time to begin. Finding a job under this financial crisis will not be easy.
About Daryl Green
Dr. Daryl Green has done extensive research on cultural issues impacting today and future leaders. His last book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence, has been rated number one on Amazon.com. For more information, you can contact him at www.darylgreen.org or www.nuleadership.com.