May 5, 2008

Using Blogs to Brand Yourself for Career Growth

"Jigyasa" (meaning 'curiosity'), is the annual journal of MHROD (Master of Human Resource & Organizational Development) which was conceived by Delhi School of Economics in 1995.

When Bindiya, the Editor of the Journal asked me for an article for the journal this is what I came up with :-)

Using Blogs to Brand Yourself for Career Growth

It’s been almost five and a half years since I started blogging about business issues. Almost 2000 blog posts later I have come to the conclusion that blogging is not just a cathartic way to get things off, to make connections and publish your take on current events from sports and politics, but can also be a tool that boosts “Brand You!”

“Brand You!” was a phrase coined by management guru Tom Peters more than a decade ago for Fast Company magazine. Not surprisingly though, both and have integrated blogging deep into their websites. Uber-tech blogger Robert Scoble is now with Fast Company’s TV website.

However, back to “Brand You!” The radical idea in 1997 when it was published was that the employee-employer contract was no longer for life, but contextually based on how useful were each of them to the other. Hence, the only thing that would guarantee employees future work would be the ability for them to brand themselves and their work. In some ways, it’s a scary idea. Brand You! focused on making people look at themselves as individual consultants who would work with various employers on a project to project mode.

Revisiting the concept Tom Peters wrote:

If you grew up thinking that you were going to work for Citibank for 40 years, you're simply not going to survive with the same set of attitudes that you've had in the past. If you're going to reinvent yourself for this new reality--and I say "if," but it's really not an option--here's how to develop the attitude that will let you reimagine yourself as the CEO of Me Inc. and save yourself before it's too late.

In fact, what Tom was asking people to do, is what Dan Pink chronicled in a much more radical way, about people turning free agents in his book “Free Agent Nation”.

For a new generation the mindset has to be thinking of being CEOs of Me, Inc.

This is where Blogging comes in.

Blogging is a tool that can help people brand themselves as experts and be pursued by prospective clients (employers). The advantages of blogs are manifold –

  1. Blogs are great for showcasing expertise – Even if you are a programmer, a tailor on London’s Savile Row, an author, a designer, a cartoonist, an accountant, a blog can help you showcase your expertise. When you write with passion about your area of expertise, it comes through and communicates your unique voice to a reader better than any brochure or static website.

  2. Blogs are great for tapping the Long tail – Wired editor Chris Anderson coined the term Long Tail to explain that very small producers of goods and very small consumers could economically still produce, sell and find each other thanks to the aggregating power of the internet. Being in a ultra-specialised niche is not scary anymore, if the total market exists across the world. Long Tail is the phenomenon that causes unknown books to sell at Amazon and for small sellers on ebay.

  3. Search engines love blogs – We have seen circumstantial evidence of search engines changing in the way they rank results - giving preference to “recent content” over more authoritative content. That means there exists a great opportunity for producers of original content to get noticed by a worldwide audience.

  4. Building a community – As someone said, links are the currency of the internet, and the same holds true for blogging too. When I started blogging I found a few HR and Recruiting bloggers in the US and Canada, and then through them I connected to a lot more bloggers in our niche. To help our readers find them I include them on my blogroll. I also keep watching incoming links to my blog, especially from within posts and try to respond to other’s take on my thoughts.

So the best way to build a blog and your own career-related brand is to produce great content, getting people to find you and connecting to them and investing in building a community. Other tools like social networks (Orkut, Facebook) and business networks (Linkedin) and microblogging tools like Twitter are also additional tools to supplement your blog’s branding and communication strategy.

Linkedin | Facebook Page | Orkut | MyBlogLog | Twitter |