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  • The Nirvana of Personal Branding is to Become Indispensable

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    Are you indispensable?

    That’s right, if you become indispensable, you will not be subject to a firing or replacement. This is the most challenging personal branding goal. It’s lofty but wouldn’t you like to have that much job security and negotiating power? How would you feel if you could ask for any salary or benefits, as well as pick your company or start your own company, with customers or employers lined up at your door?

    Well, it’s possible, but very rare in today’s society. There is an exponential growth in the amount of small businesses in this world, as well as specialists who are claiming niche’s, fighting to hold them and struggling to stay relevant to the ever changing marketplace. People are having trouble enough standing out to worry about hitting personal branding nirvana by becoming indispensable.

    Imagine this

    A new technical skill just hit your industry and no one has learned it yet. You decide to go through training and become the only certified professional in the world with that skill. Due to your specialization, you have become indispensable and you can’t even fight off the amount of offers your receiving from companies that would like to advance their business with your skills. IT is possible, but how far will you go to position yourself in this respect?

    What won’t make you indispensable

    1) Becoming an expert in a saturated market. Learning everything you can about social media, including blogging, podcasting, social networks and social applications. Sorry everyone, but this is slowly becoming general knowledge. You can only differentiate here for select audiences.

    2) Sitting behind closed doors. As I always say, visibility creates opportunities. What do you think of someone who may be indispensable, but no one knows about it? It’s like having the perfect resume, but not submitted it to anyone. It’s like building an amazing blog template, website or Facebook page, but not publishing it. If you aren’t aggressive, you will digress.

    3) Following in one’s footsteps. Sure mentorship is great for your professional education, but if you are constantly copying others, then it’s hard to identify you among the masses. In order to become known in today’s society, don’t be co-branded (except for celebrities, when it tends to come with the territory). When you follow someone else, you lose track of who you are, with the benefit of learning, but at the cost of positioning.

    What will make you indispensable

    1) Don’t think about now, think about the future. If you concentrate on skills that are being taught in our school systems, you will not become indispensable, but rather, just another graduate. You need to become a thought leader, such that you are years ahead of everyone else in your field. This sometimes means that you have to make guesses or assumptions and try and back them with research (educated guess).

    2) Pay attention to what’s already out there. Not enough people read. It doesn’t matter how you receive your information (I prefer Google Reader). All that matters is that you are die-hard about your field. You should be subscribing to all relevant blogs and traditional news sites. Also, you’ll want to subscribe to research websites such as Marketing Charts and eMarketer, so you can start to plan for the future or at least build it into your pitch. The more you learn today, the better off you’ll be tomorrow.

    3) Forget about your weaknesses, they are WEAK. Listen, if you are horrible at creating websites or investing in the stock market, don’t allocate all your time to learning as much as you can. If you know what your strengths are, try to elevate those strengths into personal branding nirvana. Those strengths can turn into the skills you need to be indispensable.

    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

    Posted in Career Development, Personal Branding, Positioning, Success Strategies
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