A BRAND New You

of $37.5 million dollars.2 By early 2007, Michael Vick had become the face of many companies, considered corporate ... Vick was convicted inAugust 2007 of running an illegal dog fighting businessin Virginia, BadNewz Kennels.

A BRAND New You

I took personal pride in composing this book on personal branding with a purpose of reaching entrepreneurs who are interested in enhancing their personal self image in parallel with the image of their businesses, for working professionals who are on the fast track up the corporate ladder and may wish to gain an edge on the competition, and for college students who are preparing for a professional life after their academic journey. Personal branding is not new, but has become increasingly important for many professionals in recent years who seek a competitive advantage over their counterparts to stand out and be noticed among a plethora of talented candidates. This is even more imperative now than a few years ago as we are faced with 10% national unemployment, with over 7 million workers laid off since the recession began back in December 2007. In some U.S. cities, unemployment is over 50%, with the unemployment rate in some states exceeding the national rate. With so many professionals out of work fighting to get re-employed in a job and career commensurate with their skills and education, the task has become increasingly challenging, leaving many unemployed individuals hopeless while confronted with life changing decisions. Trying to stand out and be recognized in a dense pool of qualified candidates is not as easy as it may have been in the past, with companies directing millions of candidates to their websites on which to post resumes and create lengthy and time intensive profiles. The job search has become a faceless and mundane process with very little success, and with increased frustration to many who continue to sink into an abyss of debt and personal despair. With this situation looming, those out-of-work professionals will have to think outside the box on how to get noticed, be recognized, and make a positive impression on recruiters and hiring managers constantly searching for suitable talent. Candidates will have to market and promote themselves as a BRAND, a successful personal image that translates quality, success, integrity, impressiveness, reliability, and bringing value to the company of their interest. Personal branding will ensure that companies identify you with the strength and true worth in what they look for when considering candidates. For those who are fortunate to still be employed, personal branding is just as important to achieving success in the work place. Companies are constantly looking for ways to “trim the fat” and become lean in their operations. Hence, operational efficiency is their ultimate goal. Akin to this effort of process improvement is doing more with less, which often influences the elimination of human labor. This occurs when companies experience a reduction in profits, have less retained earnings to expand operations and invest in growing the business, and realizing diminishing returned value to their shareholders. Oftentimes, workers must be let go, if they are determined to be part of non-producing or non-revenue generating functions of the organization, or if they themselves are perceived to be adding little value to the organization. If a company believes it can do without you, it will let you go in a layoff or downsizing. It is not a personal matter, but a business decision that companies, large or small, are confronted with on a constant basis. It is all about the bottom line and keeping the doors open. Working professionals have to determine how they are identified by their companies. How strong is your personal BRAND, and how valuable are you to your employer? What differentiates you from your peers that make you stand out? What type of impression are you making on your company? Are there any weaknesses that you have to strengthen? These are some of the questions that you must honestly ask yourself and answer. Performing an honest assessment on your personal BRAND will capture the things that make you valuable to your employer, while at the

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