Whenever I speak about the fundamentals of personal brand building and awareness, I always emphasize the importance of determining the skills, talents, attributes, and more that separate us from one another. Our brands are enhanced when we create value in the minds of others based on our unique attributes.
This summation became even more apparent to me while reading a recent article by Bill Martin that appeared this week at the Harvard Business Review Blog Network. In “When Choosing a Job, Culture Matters”, Martin cautions job seekers to understand the importance of cultural fit when looking for a new job. Martin wrote:
“It’s not uncommon for job seekers to enter organizations without understanding the culture and come away disappointed. When considering a new job, be sure to investigate the institution’s culture.”
Many will say that “any job is a good job” in this economy, and I certainly understand the “anything beats nothing” mentality. Still, even in a challenged economy, organizational leaders understand the importance of hiring the right person for a job. Employers are still seeking individual contributors who bring talent, experience, skills, and more to a new role.
Employers are still hiring those they deem valuable.
Accordingly, job seekers should still cultivate and build solid personal brands…and don’t compromise if your potential employer doesn’t meet YOUR expectations. Never approach a job search with your head hung low – you should be interviewing your potential new employer just as much as he or she is interviewing you!
Of course, none of this matters if you haven’t developed your personal brand – how can you expect someone else to recognize your inherent value if you haven’t done so yourself?
Martin sums up his article by writing (emphasis added):
“Culture may come up in job interviews, although it may be complicated to do much investigation when you’re trying to sell yourself. People sometimes worry that discussing culture might make people uncomfortable and put a job offer at risk. The culture topic is certainly not off-base, and it is necessary to know for future growth in the company. Hiring managers should expect it.”
Your personal brand is invaluable and should not be compromised. Just as you’re prepared to answer when an interviewer asks “what can you do for us?”, you should be equally prepared to ask “what can your organization do to ensure my continued growth and development?”