Your personal brand and the spectrum of suck


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I draw this diagram in class every time I review the concept of personal brands. I also say something like this:

On the left you have companies that aren’t much fun to work for. Think cube farm of death. They may be able to pay your bills but the day-to-day is a grind. They’re companies that suck. On the right you have the companies you really want to work for. If you’re fortunate enough to get a gig with one of these companies, you call your friends immediately to tell them. Companies that do not suck.

For marketers/technologists, companies firmly in the “do not suck” category are Google, Square, Foursquare, Twitter, Netflix or Instagram. I then ask my students if they think those companies review their digital foot print/personal brand before they even consider calling them instead of just collecting resumes. I have very smart students and I get a resounding “uh huh”. There are a couple of reasons they do this.

Culture is the reason most people lose their jobs. It’s not skill set. There are tons of people walking around with the same skills as you. A smart business wants to know what it’s like to work with you. I tell the students the following true story to help illustrate the point.

Sarah was an excellent student of mine. She had a good handle on digital marketing, a strong personal brand and was looking for a job. I knew the head of HR for the company she was interested in and after reviewing her online accounts, I sent over her resume. About ten minutes later I got a call from my HR friend. She asked me if I’d taken a look at her Twitter account and I had. (We both use Rapportive so there was little doubt that we were looking at the same account(s).) I pulled it up again and looked it over. I couldn’t see what the issue was. With the phone still pressed to my ear she told that if I were to read most of the posts, I’d find that they were negative. She then went on to explain that the company had a pretty stressful environment and that they didn’t need any negativity. I then got to take Sarah to Starbucks and explain why she wasn’t even getting an interview.

Remember,y0u spend more time with your coworkers than you do with family . . .

Walking the walk. Bad news. You need to have surgery on your spleen to “fix it”. The day of the surgery, the doctor walks in and says, “Don’t worry. I’ve never actually done this but I’ve read a lot of articles on it and have a degree in spleen fixing”. Naturally, your response is something akin to, “DO NOT TOUCH ME.” In regards to marketing/technology, you need to be doing it, not just know how to do it.

Passion. This goes hand-in-hand with walking the walk but to put it simply, if you’re passionate about something, you spend more time keeping up with it than you do watching TV. (TV in general is very bad for you.) One of my favorite things to do when reviewing a resume is look at  their LinkedIn account to see if they’re following any groups that have to do with their self-proclaimed passion. I do the same thing for Twitter. Also, I’ve seen first hand, businesses hire someone who has less experience but more passion for the vertical/business model. Passion gets work done.


By Michael Myers