Do you record live TV so you can fast-forward through commercials? Or, if you are watching live TV, do you hit the mute button or head to the refrigerator during commercials?
Conversely, do you seek out blog posts, articles, magazines, web sites, and even products that appeal to your personal / professional interests?
The former is advertising and it can be intrusive, interruptive, and even annoying. The latter is inbound marketing and it gives the consumer the freedom to choose.
This analogy applies to managing your career. As an active job seeker, you may be intruding, interrupting, and perhaps even annoying prospects. You are, in effect, advertising your wares to potential buyers, who may or may not be buying.
On the other hand, personal branding is about inbound marketing. Pulling the right people to you in their time and on their terms and when they are ready to buy.
“While advertising may be the flashy cog that looks good in media forms, what does it all mean? Your company [or you as a candidate] is much more than a singing fish, talking baby or another gimmick. Sure you can name what companies are associated with the previously mentioned gimmicks. The question is, do you know what these brands really stand for? Advertising can’t answer that question—only good brand building can ….” (Source: PRBreakfastClub)
I spoke with a wannabe CFO recently. There is no question that he is extremely talented. However, he isn’t a sitting Chief Financial Officer nor does he have the coveted CFO title in his background. He can definitely get in the game, but it has proved difficult for him to compete when it comes down to securing one of the top 3 slots and winning the position.
This is where personal branding can actually give him the edge … even against candidates who are or have been CFOs. Why? Because hiring for culture fit is the most challenging thing for companies. Finance skill sets and perhaps credentials get candidates to the interview. All those being equal, likability and culture fit then become the defining points. A strong personal brand, “what you are known for,” already precedes you to the interview and can make the difference between blending in or getting lost in the competition … or standing far in front of the competition.