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Career Branding Tips for Gen X and Beyond

Career Branding Tips for Gen X and Beyond

Several years ago, I was in need of a temporary assistant to do some tedious administrative tasks.  A trustworthy temp agency sent over a nice lady who worked hard and had a pleasant personality.  My workload got bigger and while this lady had already missed a few days, I thought her excuses seemed legitimate and considered  hiring her.

First step? Google. What did I find? A very dark and dreary blog that she wrote in on a regular basis. It was all self-reflection and she frequently vented about why HR work is so boring for her and why she always seems to end up bouncing around so many temp jobs.  She went on to talk about how depressed she is and why she just wants to run away from the world. After that, she had many posts where she wrote about an incredibly disturbing relationship that had just ended.

This is some scary stuff to read when you are considering hiring that same person!  The odd thing about it was that the woman was 48 years old.

Or is it odd?

Personal branding coaching seems heavily directed towards Gen Y. I understand why – there is a lot to consider when you are pretty much “growing up” on Facebook and other social media avenues. Eventually, you graduate from college and are in the job market and employers are Googling you to find out everything they can about you.

However, in my experience working in HR, Googling candidates and finding “issues” is not primarily a Gen Y concern, nor are people in Gen Y in the majority when it comes to actually having personal brand issues.

Personal Branding has become a hot topic amongst college students and most (if not all!) career service centers on college campuses are bringing the issue forward, in a big way, to their students.

So, Who Teaches Gen X and the Baby-Boomers about Personal Branding?

Learning about personal branding, before you even get your first job, is a great thing for new Gen Y graduates. But this leaves all of Gen Xers and all Baby-boomers somewhat in the dark about this topic – and even some of the older Gen Yers.

If you are already established in a career, you would have no need or desire to be researching and learning about what employers are doing when they hire someone.

You won’t likely be amongst a whole lot of talk about how important it is to properly brand yourself online because you already have a job.

You may learn about why you should never bash your employer online, but what about bashing your own online image?

Employers Googling job candidates is fairly new and is becoming increasingly popular now. If you have been in your current job for as little as 5 years (or even less than that), you being “googled” when you were first hired may never have happened.

Where the problem lies is that these people (anyone age 30 or older – which is the overwhelming majority of the workforce today) are just out there on Facebook and Twitter, and other social media venues, doing and saying whatever it is they feel like doing or saying without much thought to the possible consequences.

And since most people will likely switch jobs and careers many times in their lifetime, it’s these people who will likely learn about personal branding the hard way – when their online brand kicks them in the face as they venture out into the job market and suddenly learn all about what it means to Google your own name.

My Personal Brand is What?

I am a Gen Xer, but being in the human resources field, I have been right on top of the changing employment trends. But when I talk to my Gen X friends about personal branding I usually am looking at blank faces. Many of them are hearing about it, from me, for the very first time. Understandably, if your interests are outside of HR, the Internet, social media, or personal branding then you will not likely hear much about it.

Yet some Gen Xers (or older) who are aware of what an online image is mistakenly believe that it is really only important when you set out to find your first job. That could not be further from the truth! Employers will not think “well, this person is not a new graduate, so I won’t Google this candidate”. They will, even if you are 70 years old.

The blog I read about my temporary HR Assistant is an excellent example of this problem. Why would this woman, when writing her blog, think that an employer would find it? Who told her that employers Google job candidates now?

As Gen Y students are finishing up college and are utilizing their university career services to put together their first resumes, we already established that they will likely learn all about personal branding. But there really isn’t anyone to expose the already established employees to the changing trends in hiring practices.

Take the Time

The bottom line is that your online image is extremely important, no matter how old you are! Gen Xers and older, you must keep on top of these changing trends because it’s likely you will be in the job market again. And even if you aren’t, your online image may affect your future chances of advancement in your current company. If you have a computer and you utilize social media or blogs, your online image is at risk. You must take the time to learn about how to properly brand yourself in this ever-changing world of social media.

3 Comments

  1. Its such a very nice article!! very nice to read it! i enjoy the reading…!!! thanks for the sharing….!!!

  2. Thanks for the sobering heads up to all of us Gen-X’ers and Baby Boomers. The good news is that we can learn so much from the up and coming trends.  We all have a brand: whether we plan it or not: and the best way to approach it is in a positive and constructive way, so that we are selling the best of who we are, online and off.

  3. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous
    blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

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