This is the title of an article by Mary van de Wiel to be found on Dan Schawbel’s website. Dan is one of the leading personal branding writers and communicators. I was especially attracted to this as it refers particularly to students and what they can do to develop a personal brand and indeed to recognise business possibilities. Last week I talked to around 100 researchers from UK Universities, all of whom were on short term and/or fixed contracts. It was organised by Vitae who are taking a lead in setting up staff associations to help researchers in their own career development. You will not be surprised to learn that I was talking about portfolio careers as a real alternative to the traditional career paths promoted by our parents, society in general and especially by Universities who have a tradition of life long job security. That is all changing rapidly now of course – as you know.
Having a drink and nibbles (another name for networking) afterwards it became very clear that there is a huge anxiety about self promotion, networking and the idea of developing a personal brand. I had tried to explain that they will have a brand anyway so they had better start to control what it looks like. The slide that I showed them here gave them the challenge of deciding whether or not they wanted to be a penguin or a penguin that stood out. What is your answer for yourself? Our book of course has a whole chapter on this question.