It used to be that people found job security by working for large companies or by working at the same company for their entire career. As long as you did a good job, your job was safe since in the face of economic difficulties, the last people hired were the first to be let go. Within the past two years, all that has changed as huge banks and companies have folded under economic pressures and corporations have laid off record numbers of seasoned executives as well as junior staff in an effort to reduce inflated overhead.
Those laid off showed up for work, did a good job and remained loyal to a corporation they believed would be loyal to them. They, unfortunately, became the victims of analytical, everyday business decisions forced by a changing economy.
So where do you find job security? Does it even exist anymore? Job security does still exist, exactly where it has always been—within your personal brand. Whether you’re a careerist or an entrepreneur, your personal brand—and making sure the right people are aware of it—is your key to continued business success.
So what is a personal brand? It’s knowing exactly who you serve in your business life, what benefit you provide for them and what unique talent, quality or expertise you bring to your work.
Start with who you really work for—is it your boss, a whole department or individual clients, either internal or external? Then look at what benefit you provide for that individual or group. Look beyond your job function to your strengths, expertise and experience for clues as to the real benefit.
A really good executive assistant might think she organizes and focuses her boss, when she actually serves as the communication hub for the entire office by fielding questions from the departments her boss oversees, bringing junior staff up to speed and ensuring inter-departmental communication by timely memos and staff meetings. Her client is her boss, but her benefit extends from alleviating his workload to increasing staff development and inter-departmental communication.
A financial planner might believe she recommends financial products that best suit her clients, when she actually coaches independent women to find and live their ideal lifestyle through the financial freedom gained from a personal financial master plan. While the financial planning is the product, the financial freedom is the benefit.
Next, look at what you’re known for. This can include personality traits, talents or innate gifts that bring something unique to your work. I was lucky enough to find a gifted ophthalmic lab technician who not only was up-to-date on the latest eyeglass tints and coatings, but was quickly able to help me find the frames that looked best on me. His “eye” for fitting frames had me returning to an otherwise inconveniently located ophthalmologist for years.
Your personal brand is only as powerful as the number of influential people who are aware of it. Next, take a look at who most needs to know what you uniquely do for your company or clients—your current boss or a hiring manager at a different company? A prospective client or a referral partner who can bring send referrals your way? Any of these people can effectively help to move your career forward and should be aware of your personal brand.
"Your personal brand is only as powerful as the number of influential people who are aware of it."
You’ll communicate your brand to them through a personal brand statement, which includes what benefit you provide, who you provide it for and the unique way you provide it. Use this statement everywhere—when changing jobs, introducing yourself to someone new or asking for that raise or promotion in your next performance review meeting. Your personal brand will help you move your career forward, offering you true job security!