Brand Yourself! Brilliant Concept!
I well remember getting out of the Army in 1960 and moving into a $40-a-month Manhattan walk-up railroad flat on East 71st Street—three rooms in a row with a bathtub in the kitchen and access to one of four johns down the hall, each with a big brass key to unlock the door.
I had no job and no idea what I would do with the rest of my life.
I was very lucky. Thanks to family connections I landed a $60-a-week entry-level job writing publicity releases and getting authors on radio and TV shows for Prentice-Hall book publishers in New Jersey across the George Washington Bridge.
In those early years I would run into eager young people with liberal arts educations like myself—but with little work experience and no connections—who were looking for jobs. Trying to be helpful, I asked, "What can you do?"
The answer very often was, "I like people."
"Yes, but ..." I would say slowly, "What can you do?"
What triggered this column was an Aug. 15, 2012 press release picked up by Reuters with the intriguing headline:
World's First Online Personal Branding EngineTM Helps Individuals Learn How to Stand Out in Crowded Market to Win Jobs
I have amassed extensive files in my private archive on the techniques of branding companies, products and services and have done a number of stories on the subject.
When I read the press release about a system whereby individuals can brand themselves, I went off on a reverie—one of my flights of fancy.
The idea of men and women coming up with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that enables them to stand out from a stack of résumés struck me as a stunningly brilliant business model!
Résumés generally give the chronology of what a person has done—education, jobs and responsibilities. All resumes look alike. Go through a stack of résumés, and it doesn't take long for your eyes to start glazing over.