Friday, June 15, 2012

You are your Brand, NOT an Employee

The world is changing. What a horrible cliché to start this article, but we all know its true. Job security doesn't exist anymore. Jobs with pensions are becoming an endangered species. The baby boomers are being blamed for having tapped the system dry. Unions are being challenged as promoting mediocrity and creating a pyramid scheme that, just like all pyramid schemes are unsustainable in perpetuity. Depressed yet? Angered yet? Well this article isn't a call to revolution but some advice to help you navigate these troubled waters.

Start a Blog

Blogging is one of the most powerful mediums that exist. It has leveled the playing field allowing anyone a free distribution channel for their ideas and point of views. It has given a voice to countless on the Internet. So start a blog! It doesn't It doesn't matter if its Wordpress, Blogger or any other of the countless free blogging sites. They are relatively easy to use, cost very little or nothing and can reach millions. I will not be covering SEO tricks, but do read up on how to make your blog reach the top of search engine results. One more thing. For God's sake, don't give anyone money claiming they can get you better SEO! Its all snake oil.

What should I blog about?

You should blog or write about what you love. What you know. What you have learned at work. What makes you better at your job than others. If you are passionate about it, blog about it. Patting yourself on the back is OK. Admitting your mistakes and what you learned from it is even better. Just move that cursor to the right.

More and more employers are reading people’s blogs as well as their resumes (in some cases, blogs only). It is crucial if you want to stand out to offer more than a resume. You need to show that you really are an expert in your field.

Never Think of Yourself as an Employee

You know why in chess, the pawns are allowed to be taken? It is because they have not shown any value beyond being fodder. This is similar to when a company decides to down-size. They look for the employees offering the least “perceived” value, and get rid of them.

If you think of yourself as simply an employee, or pawn, you will be treated as such. Think of yourself as a contractor, a hired gun, with your own brand! You are not “employee 014565”. You are “John Smith” expert at what you do. Why are you an expert? You are an expert because you have a Blog which showcases your expertise. Your employer will recognize you as one, so will potential future employers as well.

Give Some to get Some

You might think sharing your "secret sauce" will eliminate your job security, but in almost all cases it is what makes you attractive, and stand out. So blog away! Show them how its done. Don't be afraid to be opinionated. You might turn off some with your opinions, but chances are there are others out there that share your opinions. Besides, wouldn't you rather want to work for/with them?