Who are we?
In years gone by people were characterised by their parents occupation and social status. When my father died last year I was pleasantly surprised to discover in his personal files every reference he had ever had as he changed jobs over the years, all written out in amazingly neat handwriting. These were personal references but they were at the same time private, they were only publicised to the next prospective employer who looked at them and passed them back. How different is the world we live in?
In todays ‘connected world’ if we want to find out about someone we reach for the internet and “Google” them, it’s so easy we can do this from our smartphone or our desk at anytime of the day or night.
Our ‘online presence’ says something about us. It gives an insight into the person, perhaps their job position, job history, country of residence, background, sometimes photographs and video. People are becoming to be defined in the first instance by their ‘online character’ almost like products.
A Personal Brand
This change means that the concept of a ‘personal brand’ becomes a reality. So like a product or a company we should leverage it. First you need to ensure that your business and personal online presence have distinct boundaries but be aware that the determined person will be able to make the link. So be very mindful of those photographs that your friends might have taken at that party in Vegas!
The question is how do we make ourselves stand out?
Curriculum Vitae – so last year
The CV from the Latin literally means “Course of Life” so it’s a condensed Autobiography in the business sense. Most people’s CV’s are started early in their careers and edited and up-issued every time they make a career move. The CV quickly becomes ungainly so we reluctantly prune it, after all you are justifiably proud of that software you wrote in your first job and couldn’t possible remove it least you delete it from your life history forever.
So here’s the trick, keep all the things you did since leaving school in a separate document, not your CV and file it as Autobiography, you never know it could come in handy later in life.
For your CV concentrate on making it a sales document, a data sheet. Think of yourself as a product because that’s what a prospective employer is buying. Think clearly about what you can do, describe yourself in arresting language and back it up with some context and perhaps ‘consumer reviews’
I came across this from Dave Crandall, this is a radical new approach worth thinking about. http://www.slideshare.net/davidcrandall/my-antiresume-manifesto
Go on ‘Google’ yourself
- It’s not as painful as it sounds! You really need to do this and see what comes up. Leverage the elements that are good and cast the others to the web, they will always be out there somewhere.
- Dust off your CV and save it under “Autobiography”
- Start a new CV file thinking of yourself as a product. It will take some effort but even if you don’t get all the way there it will be an improvement on your old CV.
- Check your online presence, use Linkedin and other social media but make sure you present a coherent picture of you!
- Just like a product think about what makes you unique? One thing is for sure there are no two people in the world that have had the same work/life experiences so you are already unique but think about your USP. (Unique Selling Point)