Two resumes. The first showcases the person's social and professional networks, social media likes, and blog views -- all elegantly designed with colorful flourishes. The other simply touts what the person was able to achieve and how it benefited the companies they worked for.
Which candidate do you think is more attractive?
This is not a trick question -- I believe employers would rather have somebody who focuses on being a stellar contributor rather than anyone with a blindingly bright personal brand.
A personal brand is just what it sounds like -- it is all about you, you, you. And yes, it is obviously important to showcase your strengths, weaknesses, and what makes you unique. This is especially true when you are looking to grow into a larger role at your company or to find a new job entirely.
You need to present your best self and we all have an important story to tell. But you cannot build a meaningful career based on clever Twitter bios, slick portfolio websites, and color-coded resumes.
I say that focusing your time on building a "personal brand" is overrated. You may think that building up your personal brand will get you a better job, more contacts, and industry recognition. You are actually sacrificing the very things you are working towards.
Here is the expectation versus the reality:
Expectation: Better job opportunities
Not quite. You may think that investing in brand building is going to lead to more exciting and more lucrative job opportunities. But does that snazzy resume demonstrate your abilities? While you were busy focused on yourself, you likely missed out on opportunities in your current role that could have shown future employers just why you would be such a great addition to their organization. Meaningful companies want to hire folks who have a proven history of delivering value, not fluff.
Expectation: More contacts
Sure, you spent a lot of time building up followers and adding to your networks. But the old quality-over-quantity adage is especially true when it comes to business contacts. While you were chalking up surface-level connections, you let more meaningful ones slip through your grasp. By genuinely working together with colleagues towards common goals, you develop lasting relationships that benefit everybody in both the short and the long run.
Expectation: Industry recognition
If you dedicate all of your time and energy to how you are perceived by others, you are wasting effort that you could have spent on truly growing what you know and what you can achieve. You may receive some shallow attention from peers, but meaningful industry recognition is reserved for those who make impressive contributions.
Being able to demonstrate your measurable impact on your company's success will make you a much more marketable and valuable teammate than wasting time building an empty brand.
Do you agree that self-promotion is overrated?