Build your personal brand

This is a theme that I have believed in for sometime and reading Gary Vaynerchuk‘s Crush It!: Why NOW is the time to cash in on your passion inspired me to write this post. (While trying to find the book on Amazon, I just realized that I overpaid for the book on Google Books. Doh!)

I feel sorry for most people who tell me that they want to become a particular professional. The pace at which I see disruption happen, I am scared for the people who are going to have skill sets that are tailored towards particular jobs. Many industries and business models are going to be disrupted, which means the jobs that exist today will no longer exist in the future.

Let me give you an example for those of you who want to take an academic path. According to Clayton Christensen of HBS, half the colleges and universities in the US will be bankrupt in the next 15 years because of a different model for education. The disruption will come in the form of students getting instruction from online material i.e. video lectures from world-class professors. The classroom will be the place where the students will make full use of the professor and their peers (which is my idea). Clay also points out that with the disruption from MOOCs, we will no longer need to educate batches of people based on how old they are. Students who grasp material will be able to progress much quicker than the others; thus getting rid of the inefficient model of education. (I will write a subsequent post proposing a model of education that Saint Peters should experiment with.)

In this new model, the way colleges and universities operate in itself will be very different. The skill sets required to be a moderator in a classroom rather than an instructor will be very different. If you are getting “trained” to be an instructor, make sure that you position yourself well to be a great moderator too! If you are planning on being a professor at a university so that you get to do research, that too might no longer be even feasible 15 years down the line!

Resumes (in the current format) will be useless in a few years. With more people putting content over the web building their personal brand, you will find yourself competing with people who have authenticity that employers can very easily have access to. Unless you are building your own brand, you are going to find it very hard to switch jobs when your current one no longer exists (think writing clerks being replaced by printers). Gary argues that with the cost of building your personal brand at ZERO, there is no excuse why you are not building your personal brand at this moment. All it takes is sweat equity i.e. hard work. Well, if you are lazy and do not want to put the effort in building your personal brand, you know why you deserve to be jobless when the time comes 😉


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