Calling all Gen Y-ers out there, born between 1980 and 1995 (approximately, and depending on who is calculating). People are telling stories in print and online about working with your peers, and most of the stories are not pretty. You've got to get a hold of your personal brand: define it, develop it, and communicate it. Change the way managers see you in the workplace so that you get the interview you want, the job you want, and the future promotions you want! Read on to find out more.
While doing some work on personal branding for the workplace (for both corporate employees and business owners), I came across many stories from managers and journalists about working with people in their 20's. A few of those stories gave glowing reports about 20-somethings regarding their creativity and desire to find better ways to do their work. Most of the stories, however, described situations that made the reader say, "He did what?" or "She said that to her boss?"
There's the story of a 23 year old woman in downstate Illinois who showed up at a company for an interview. She walked into the office with her dad. At first, the manager who was to interview her thought, "Maybe her car is in the shop and she needed a ride, so her dad drove her here." But he quickly realized that her dad could have just dropped her off at the company and came back later to pick her up. The manager decided right away, before the interview even started, that she wasn't getting the job. Then he decided to have some fun with it. As he called the woman into his office for the interview, he said to her dad, "Sir, would you like to come in, too?" Unbelievably, the dad agreed and came into the interview with his daughter!
There's the story of the 24 year old man, newly hired, who explained to his boss that he needs Fridays off because his girlfriend has Fridays off, too, and they have a share in a beach house.
There are stories told by HR representatives from various companies of parents of newly recruited college graduates calling to ask about Johnny's or Jill's benefits package.
There are many workplace stories of excessive cell phone usage for social calls, inappropriate clothing choices, and expectations of being promoted within two years to a level that others have worked and waited for, for five to 10 years.
The problem is that, when the hundreds and thousands of managers out there read accounts written by other managers and journalists regarding the bad things about working with Gen Y people, it reflects poorly on all Gen Y men and women.
If you're a Gen Y, you might be reading this and thinking, "Hey! That's not what I do in the workplace. It isn t fair to label me in that way and to put me in the same bucket as those people!"
True. You have a very good point.
So, what are you going to do about it?
You've been branded in a way that you didn't want to be branded. Many of your peers are not living in a professional manner in the workplace. The managers out there put all of you (in your age category) into the same bucket. And you don't see yourself as acting unprofessionally in the workplace.
That means you have to define your brand, develop your brand, and communicate your brand so that you get the interview you want, the job you want, and the future promotions you want. Sound good?
How do you do that?
Read articles and books about what is going on in the workplace, especially in regard to your age group.
What are you already doing that is quite professional that you want to be known for?
Pay attention at your current job to people of all ages. Make note of how they handle their work, how they handle interpersonal situations, what they speak about at meetings and in day-to-day conversations, how they dress, how timely they are regarding responding to peoples' requests for information, etc.
What is it about certain peoples' styles that would be good to work into your own personal brand? (I'm not saying you should act as if you're 40; I'm saying that you need to pull behavioral tendencies from people who are professional all the way around.)
As you pull together components of your personal brand, decide how you're going to pull it all together as part of who you are in the workplace. Consider:
- Who your customer is (the people who will pay you)
- What your competition is doing (you've read some of their stories!)
- Your visual identity
- Your verbal identity
- The messages you want your brand to convey
When your personal brand is put together, you need to plan how you will communicate your brand over time to your customer (and to anyone else who could be a future customer, remembering that these are the people who can offer you a better job, a promotion, more money, and more opportunities in the future).
This includes communication within your own company, how you communicate for potential work at a different company, perhaps a blog where you write about various topics that involve your profession, and anything else that gives you visibility.
Gen Y, some of your peers are messing up out there. Take advantage of this by creating and communicating a terrific, professional personal brand that knocks the socks off of the baby boomers and Gen-Xers in the work world. Rise above the stories out there about working with Gen Y.
Remember, the most important thing you need to know about branding is this:
If you don't brand yourself, someone else will; and it probably won't be the brand you want!
If you want to define, develop, and communicate your personal brand, there is no better way to do it than to use Glory Borgeson's self-paced "Brand Yourself! Coaching Program". This coaching program is delivered to you in 10 modules over 10 weeks. You complete the program step-by-step following Glory's methods for developing a successful brand. Included is how to get your personal brand visible to the people who need to know who you are and who need to understand your brand.
Click here to go to the "Programs & Products" page on Glory's website to find out more about the Brand Yourself! Coaching Program.
2008 Borgeson Consulting, Inc.
Glory Borgeson, President
2008 Borgeson Consulting, Inc.
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