As the de factor HR generalist for Centric DXB, I am always on my toes looking for and qualifying top talent for our digital strategy firm. As such, there is one very common career mistake that I come across during the talent evaluation process, and it’s the biggest career mistake people make. If one were to Google the name, it evidently clear from the search results that a journalist has been looked for. That is because Mr Babar has gone out of his way to decide what he wants people to find when they look for him and built his entire persona around it: brand journalism.
So the biggest career mistake people make is the assumption that the rest of the world are mind readers. The fact of the matter is, everyone but you hasn’t a clue as to what you are up to. Many professional opportunities are lost because people are not investing in aligning their personal brand to the role or subject matter expertise that they are in. This goes far beyond making sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. To avoid this mistake, seize control of your personal brand narrative, diligently guaranteeing that even in a busy world, others are aware of what you are doing, where you are headed and what you are interested in.
There are three quick fixes that you can start today.
1. List the work you are currently doing and be prepared to respond to them when the opportunity presents itself. Share an anecdote about your current projects (without breaking any confidentiality agreements) so the questioner gains an understanding of where you are and where you are heading.
2. List the top five people in your direct and indirect field that you can trust. Have a word with them about personal branding. Are they also looking to put themselves out there? Enlist at least three of them to be each other’s, wingman. It’s based on the same idea that product reviews from customers are more believable than claims made my the brand themselves. This approach was first suggested by and supported based on research of two Professors – Jeffrey Pfeffer from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University. Each person has to talk up the other when it is contextually relevant.
3. Whether it is by video, text or publications of your field, create content to share what you have done, why you matter, why you are valuable, what is your niche and where you are headed. Brand yourself as the subject matter expert. Give talks on the subject at your alma matter.
These are just some of the strategies of breaking through the clutter and being more well known in your inner and outer circle, effectively aiding people in avoiding the biggest career mistake they could make.