From the Author
What sparked your interest in professional reinvention?
My interest in reinvention started because I've changed careers a number of times. I went to graduate school for theology, and then became a journalist, a presidential campaign spokesperson, a nonprofit executive director, and finally a marketing strategy consultant. I realized each time, you need to explain that transition in a way that makes sense to other people and demonstrates that you'll be able to do the job successfully. This book is a way to share what I've learned through my own experience, and through advising many talented professionals about rebranding themselves.
Why would people need to reinvent themselves professionally?
There are a lot of reasons. These days, you can't count on a lifetime job with one company - or, in many cases, even a lifetime career. Too many industries are going through convulsive changes. The people who could benefit most from this book would be individuals looking to change their careers, people who want to move up in their company and know they need to shape how they're viewed by others, and folks who may have been laid off or are looking for a new job in their industry. I also think that younger job-seekers, who are at an earlier stage in personal brand-building, might find this helpful as they're starting out.
What if I'm not really comfortable with the idea of 'personal branding'?
Some people are turned off by the implication that people can be 'branded' the way cereal or detergent is. They may feel branding equates to phoniness or inauthenticity. But that's exactly the opposite of how I view it. Personal branding isn't about packaging something in a fake way that results in a sale (or a job offer). Your reputation lasts for a long time, and needs to be treated with respect. You won't get very far if you try to be something you're not. Rather, your personal brand is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It's the essence of authenticity.
You argue that it's essential for people to understand the unique talent or perspective they can bring. Why is that important?
I like to say that you'll never win if you're playing someone else's game. When you're transitioning into a new company, new job, or new career, you may be judged by other people's standards. Your colleagues may have 20 years of experience, while you have three months. You're going to lose unless you find a way to show you have unique skills and expertise (perhaps because of your previous professional background) that they simply don't have - and explain why that's a valuable contribution.