Podcast #225 – Wendy Marx Expands on How Boomers Can Shore Up Their Personal Brand
This week I am speaking with Wendy Marx who previously was on the podcast in episode 181. Wendy is a personal branding expert and she recently wrote a blog post on job-hunt.org called How Boomers Can Shore Up Their Personal Brand During the Pandemic
Wendy and I discuss and expand on what she discussed in that post.
This episode is sponsored by Career Pivot. Check out the Career Pivot Community. Make sure and pick up my latest book, Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life Third Edition.
Now on to the podcast…
What is Personal Branding?
Many people don’t realize they need a personal brand. They’ve been in business all their lives. They don’t realize that this doesn’t mean anything today – especially with the internet, outsourcing, AI, and automation.
You can’t rely on what you’ve been. You now need to market and brand yourself.
A personal brand is really a reputation – not a title. It’s what you’re about, your focus, your passion, how people perceive you.
Let’s walk through the 5 points of ‘shoring up your personal brand.’
1. Crack the social media
- Update your social media.
Update your photo (yes, it’s ok to show your age). Frequently update your profile.
You get more ability if you’re updating your page. If it stays static, it doesn’t get as much visibility as it should.
Brand yourself – your social media profile shouldn’t be your resume.
It should have a tagline and tell some sort of story about you.
On LinkedIn especially, there is an “About” section. This is a great place to explain what you’re passionate about. You don’t want to tell just what you’re doing but why you’re doing it and what problems you solve.
That makes a compelling brand.
Your picture should say something. What is it telling people? Smart? Professional? Approachable?
Don’t look stiff. Have a friendly, engaging, and likable expression.
- Create key messaging for your profiles and make yourself engaging
It’s so easy to be boring and that’s everyone’s default.
The profiles all sound the same.
Some of the most accomplished people have the most boring profiles because they’re afraid to promote themselves.
When you’re coming up with the messaging, you want to come up with something distinctive.
Otherwise, who cares?
You do that by asking people that you’ve worked with to tell you what your special sauce is.
- Create and share content
Creating content sounds daunting but it doesn’t have to be.
You can take someone else’s content and add a little message about it, put your own spin on it, and share it.
The other thing that is very big is video.
Many people shy away from creating videos but it truly is a great way to make a connection with people.
The more content you create the better.
It will not be perfect at first but do it anyway. It will get better.
2. Reconnect and warm up old contacts
People 50+ have such a wealth of contacts they’ve built up over the years and it’s easy to forget about them through the years.
On LinkedIn, it’s not the number, it’s the quality.
It’s about going back to those connections and reconnecting with them. Not just a “hello” but being genuine and sincere.
Be interested in the person. It’s not about you, it’s about what you can give to the other person.
If you haven’t talked to them in 20 years, you can still let them know that something happened in your life and it made you think of them and then site an antidote for that experience with that person.
People who knew you then still remember you as you were back then. And they think favorably from those times. If you’ve pivoted, that’s also something to share with them.
3. Develop new contacts
Our networks are oftentimes just like us.
They are people we may have worked with.
What makes a network so rich is if you have contacts in a different industry or different ages.
You can give to the younger person and learn from that younger person.
We tend to self-segregate and only connect with people our own age, but we really need to reach out to especially younger people and develop relationships.
4. Get smarter
It’s easy to think since you’ve finished school you’re done learning. But, you need to be a lifetime learner.
Only 36% of boomers reported keeping their skills up to date.
Because people think since they’ve accomplished so much why do they need to learn anything new?
There is an idea that you are what you are and don’t need to learn anything new because you’re not going to get smarter.
People like that are scared of failing. When you get older, you worry that you can’t learn it.
Instead of that mindset, you need to go in with a growth mindset. Go in with gusto. Learning is fun.
5. Stay active and visible
You can’t do this one time and think you have now branded yourself. I
t has to be consistent because if you’re not out there they think you’ve vanished.
By continuing to do this, you help establish your brand.
It’s also important to develop a niche that will make you distinctive. Otherwise, you’re just one of 3 million people.
Hone in on what is special about what you’re doing.
Be consistent and predictable. Don’t commit to something you can’t keep up. Whatever you’re comfortable with, be consistent so people learn to expect it from you.
Just remember, whether you know it or now, you have a brand because people think of you a certain way.
It may not be what you think, so if it’s different you want to become the brand you want people to see.
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