The ‘Bourne Effect’: of the importance of Personal Branding (and the Seven Work Principles)

You are Jason Bourne, you wake up in a hotel room in a Middle Eastern country. It’s too hot in your room. You sweat and you just woke up from a nightmare. You are not sure if this nightmare is a memory because you cannot remember who you are. 

How will it be possible for you to connect with anyone? How will you trust others if you do not even know who you are? What if you have changed your identity so often that you cannot even clearly pronounce your name?

This is a challenge and you are probably shaking your head. “This is a movie, it’s not real.”. 
Yes, but there is a truth in this movie that is relevant to your job search in a new country. It might even be true if you are looking for a new job in your own country.
In professional life, we want to hire people we can trust. We want to hire a competent professional who can show us that they managed a similar challenge before. We want to work with people who will be self-starters and won’t need a year to be up to speed in the role.
You need a professional identity before you can enter the circle of trust because trust starts with you trusting yourself, trusting your knowledge, attitudes, skills, experiences and how you acquire and store them in your brain. You need to be aware of how you relax, how you focus and center yourself when you are in a critical and stressful complex matrix environment. 
Here is one issue I often notice when you come to see me: you are not even aware of most of your competencies. You take them for granted and assume that a recruiter, computer or line manager will already know everything about you when they scan your resume because, obviously, they are mind-readers and miracle workers. For them, it is as obvious as all the three-letter-acronyms you have been using on your résumé because English is their native language and they are working in a similar field, profession, and industry. Really?

What your personal brand should say about you:

When we speak about the personal brand it is something unique to you, something that makes people remember your name, that sticks with people and that keeps you top-of-mind when they are looking for someone with your profile. This brand is not just a marketing factor. Putting three labels (professional designations) on your résumé will help a reader to categorize you and put you into the right mental box. Ideally, you keep reminding this reader of you so that the box is not closed but open, and so that the persona in the box shines like a Swarovski crystal. Oh, look, here’s Jason Bourne again. Matt Damon is associated with this movie role. He will never be able to play any other role without us thinking: “Oh, that’s Jason Bourne!”. Which reminds me that I saw “Hidden Figures” today and when Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory appeared, I had to laugh. Then, I always waited for him to act like the Sheldon that he is BUT he was playing another role and did that really well. It was hard for me to accept though because for me Jim Parsons is not an identity. For me this guy IS Sheldon. So, imagine you are trying to re-brand yourself. It’s very difficult. Your former career image sticks to your face and to your online trail. I can tell a few CEO’s who won’t find a job anymore because they are burnt.  

Your personal brand is not only your name, headshot, twitter handle, trademark, signature product or the funny pink hat. Your personal brand is also how you make others feel. Your personal brand should say about you what you are trying to express with your seven work principles. People should identify you with how you work and how you relate to others. They should be happy to refer you to others by saying: “She is really competent and helped me on several occasions when I was stuck. She has been my greatest cheerleader.” or “He is true to his values and always seems to do the correct move. He has never let me down.”

How to connect your personal brand with your seven work principles?

As you already know if you have been through the HireMe! Program, we recommend that you develop your seven work principles in alignment with your personal values. An example would be: “I prioritize my clients over my prospects.”. If your personal brand is aligned with your work principles then your clients would say about you that you always take their concerns seriously and that you get back to them in an appropriate time frame. If you want this behavior to show, you could ask previous clients to endorse you for this behavior in their personal references and on LinkedIn. You could also try to write a special reference or recommendation about a person in your professional network, without expecting them to endorse you back.

Please tell me how you will review your work principles this week and how you will align them to your personal brand. Then take a break and watch a movie. It’s inspiring.



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