The intangible value of being --- that's what the new knowledge economy is all about - Knowledge Value + Personal Branding. Veteran information age guru Stan Davis confirms some insights into the increasing value of people in today's economy.
In Blur, Davis and Meyer make the point that the boundaries between your work life and your home life are disappearing. In fact, today the rate of change and the depth of connectivity are so fast that every person, product, service and company are blurring together.
Computerization and communications have made us all a linked community. There are, for example, nine times more computer processors in our products than in our computers -- nine billion CPUs in items like phones, hotel keys, consumer electronics, day planners and cars.
As products are more driven by software, they become easier to link together. Intelligence and information become the key value being offered in a consumable product (some 90 percent of the value of a new car is estimated to be in the computers and software it uses). And you are the value-adder.
Instead of resources or land, "capital" today means human capital. I personally despise the term but it is widely accepted and used by fashionable consultants.
It doesn't take a shoe factory to go into the shoe business these days. Nor do you need raw materials or fleets of trucks. Nike became a shoe industry leader by concentrating on the value-producing capacity of its employees, for design, marketing and distribution know-how. The real capital is intangible: your knowledge level, combined with an aptitude for application.
Today, employees in the high-technology world especially, tend to think of themselves as "free agents" -- like a professional athlete who is always in training. Knowledge workers are continuously investing in the next set of skills and training, driving up their personal "stock price". This puts knowledge value in the driver's seat. Your Brand is unique. How do you give it a dollar value?
Knowledge + Aptitude = Brand
Today we buy the value implied by our favorite brands, and Employers do the same! Do you buy generic beer? Clothes? Cars? Not likely.
Why personal branding is critical for you today:
- Employers are looking for results.
- Results demonstrate Your Qualities, which satisfy Their Value Requirements.
- Employers are not buying generic beer.
- They will buy the intangible Qualities implied by your brand (you are Nike too).
How Do You Create a Brand – without a million dollar budget?
It’s pretty simple actually. Personal Branding is all about making yourself stand out so that people trust you and are interested in you.
To do this you borrow your previous employers Brand (names, slogans, and logos) to create an identity that is memorable and desirable to the people you want to reach.
For your cover letter this means name-dropping which projects you worked on or which clients you sold to. Be specific. Be detailed. Sell the sizzle AND the steak.
For your resume it may mean taking the logos (with permission of course) of the companies you worked for or product you developed and putting them on your resume for extra punch. Nothing will get an employer’s attention faster than a well-known brand’s logo, especially if it’s a competitor or a coveted account for the sales group.
For telephone queries it’s all in how you set the stage. When you are following up your letter, email, resume try standing out from the other 1000 applicants. For example:
- “I sent you my resume…”
- “I’m following up the resume I sent…”
- “I understand you may be looking for… “
- “Do you need a …”
Those are the standard opening statements people use when they call me or leave me a voice-mail message.
Try this instead:
This is not exactly rocket science. It just takes a little forethought and planning to leave a message or start a conversation that is more likely to get you a quick return call. In case you're looking for more examples, this comes out of both of my books, Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters and Career Guide for the High Tech Professional
Next week we’ll tackle branding for your resume. It’s actually pretty easy and terribly effective.