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Personal Branding Trends for 2012 (Part 2)

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In this article, you'll learn...

  • How video and multimedia will be pivotal to personal branding in 2012
  • Why job postings, text resumes, and text bios are losing effectiveness

In part one of this article, I provided the first six of twelve important trends that will affect your personal brand in 2012.

Here are the remaining six trends that will dominate the new year.

7. RIP Job Postings

Job posting will become obsolete as social networks make it easier to identify qualified potential hires. I have been talking about this for a long time, and now it's much closer to becoming the norm. More and more, when hiring managers and recruiters have an open position, they'll reach out via social networks and scour the Internet to find the ideal candidate.

According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2011, 56% of HR managers indicated they use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to source candidates (up from 34% in 2010). The No. 1 reason they're using social media that way is to recruit passive job seekers.


BeKnown, a Facebook app from the folks at Monster.com, finds and recommends jobs for you based on the skills and experience you've listed on your profile—before you even conduct a search.

Job postings are inefficient. Many unqualified candidates apply, and the volume of resumes received can be overwhelming for hiring managers.

What does this mean for you?

Ensure your profiles on social networking sites include up-to-date information, compelling writing, and all the appropriate keywords needed to be found by those who seek your skills and experience. Consider creating a profile at BeKnown and other similar sites to make it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to find you.

8. Professional, DIY Video

Professional, or DIY (do it yourself) video: Those used to be two options for getting video produced. Now, you can have both. Distance Record from videoBIO (a partner of my company, Reach Personal Branding) allows you to record your own video via a webcam in your home or office and then send in the raw video for editing. In addition, you can have a producer on your computer screen directing you via video.

In the past, two things stood in the way of using video to build your brand:

  1. Self-produced video looked amateurish and didn't always create the best impression.
  2. Studio shoots produced professional video but they were costly and time-consuming.

New, hybrid services will certainly increase the use of video as a way of building your brand.

What does this mean for you?

There's no time like the present to produce your video bio. First, write your branded bio (mixing your credentials, experience, and success with your personality). Then, turn it into a script. Practice, but don't rehearse. Then, work with an organization to get a high-quality video produced. Upload your final video to YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv, and other similar sites, and use the Google Docs app in LinkedIn to embed it in your LinkedIn profile.

9. Video as Communications

In my 2011 personal branding trends article for MarketingProfs, I included five trends related to video. I still believe video provides the most opportunity for showcasing your brand. In trend No. 8 (above), I recommended that you create a video bio so people get a 3-D impression of you that they can't get via a text resume or bio. That type of video is extremely important (and differentiating) because it allows you to express your thought leadership and exude your personality.

But using video as a regular communications tool can have even more impact on your career. That is the new trend that I'm seeing more and more with my clients. Salespeople communicate with prospects via video email, and leaders regularly send video messages to their team. Geographically dispersed teams use their webcams and real-time video (Google+ or Skype) to conduct their meetings. More and more, companies are investing in Cisco TelePresence and other video conferencing systems.

What does this mean for you?

If you have been reluctant to use video because you think it's too expensive, time-consuming, or hard to use, think again about incorporating video into your personal brand communications plan.

Video allows you to deliver complete communication. It's more effective and productive than text-only communications, so integrate it into the mix when you have something important to share or when you want to build relationships with people who are not sitting in the next cubicle.

Right now, using video this way is differentiating. In the future, however, it will be the norm.

10. Quality Trumps Quantity

The days of posting content just to get something on the Web are over. Quality is now much more important that quantity. This trend has two implications:

  1. The rush to fill the Web with content—any content—is over. With so much content out there, people have become overwhelmed... and more discerning.
  2. As attention spans wane, shorter, richer, and more relevant content is becoming more popular.

With books, for example, publishers sought a desired number of pages for different genres—often making authors write books that were longer than necessary. Now, because of self-publishing and increasing sales of e-books (see Personal Branding Trend No. 3), the size of a book will be determined by how long the book needs to be to tell the story. And, in the future, books will likely be multimedia—increasing the quality of the content and the experience.

The "quality trumps quantity" trend is also, in part, a direct result of the popularity of Twitter. Google "140 Characters," and you'll get millions of search results. These days, 140 characters is becoming the standard length of a message. For example, BranchOut allows you to provide 140-character endorsements of network members. In our new book, Ditch. Dare. Do!, my co-author Deb Dib and I end each chapter with a 140-character action-oriented tip.

What does this mean for you?

Focus on quality—not quantity. Learn to be pithy in your writing, and let the fact that books don't have to be 200 pages long inspire you to write your first book or e-book. Create and produce only high-quality content. Spend more time on fewer communications.

11. Permanent Unemployment

In a July 2011 study, CareerBuilder learned that employers prefer hiring people who already have jobs over those who have been laid off.

If you're unemployed, that finding must seem depressing, but it need not be. Instead of being unemployed, you need to remain active—even if you're no longer at the company you were working for. Take on a volunteer activity, hang your own shingle, or get involved in a project you are passionate about; those are valuable ways to remain a compelling candidate.

If it looks like looking for work is your full-time job, you'll be less attractive to recruiters and hiring managers.

What does this mean for you?

Don't consider yourself unemployed. Be prepared to consult or volunteer should you find your name on the layoff list. In the future, many of us will move from being employed by companies to being self-employed, and back.

Get in that mindset now to ensure you remain an attractive passive job candidate. And ensure that you are visible where your target audience will likely find you. Use the right keywords in everything you post on the Web. Contribute thought-leadership content to job-function or industry portals. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and make it compelling (that is the No. 1 site that hiring managers check, according to an SHRM study).

12. Personal Qwikis

Qwiki delivers interactive, multimedia presentations of information you are researching. It's a 3-D way of representing information—making it easier to digest and giving it more impact. Think of it as a multimedia, customizable Wikipedia. That is part of a trend away from text-based content and toward richer, more effective communications.

In my 2011 personal branding trends, I stressed the importance of using video and images to express your brand. Soon, with Qwiki—and other tools that are on the horizon—you'll be able to create a multimedia presentation about the brand called You. Instead of resumes or portfolios, you'll be able to use a personal Qwiki to present your qualifications.

What does this mean for you?

Multimedia is becoming increasingly important as you build your brand. Ensure that you take every opportunity to create and obtain video and images related to your brand. When Qwikis become personal, you'll be able to put together a compelling, customized presentation about your brand—your accomplishments, your beliefs, your thought-leadership experience, etc. The more content you have to work with, the better your Qwiki will be.


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William Arruda, dubbed "the personal branding guru" by Entrepreneur, is a motivational speaker, talent-development consultant, and the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding. He is the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives and curator at Personal Branding TV. He is credited with turning the concept of personal branding into a global industry.

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  • by John Antonios Tue Jan 17, 2012 via web

    You said last year and again this year William - video is the way forward! I also agree with you on your position re Job Posting - I actually wrote a post called "The Fall of the CV & the Rise of Personal Branding" http://goo.gl/vYtYv - I was certainly insinuating the traditional paper-based CV ...
    Thank you for sharing the link to Qwiki ... I love the idea behind presenting any topic in a more appealing multimedia format.

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