Personal Branding
Building your YOU, Inc. Brand For Those Over 50

What everyone should be clear about personal branding is that although I believe in the “been there and done that” point-of-view, it is also important, that you still have to PROVE that you can do the job better than anyone else can, and setting yourself apart from you competition is critical.  With companies more sensitive to age discrimination, that only means you have a chance at being considered…It does not mean you have a leg up on the competition.  For those of us over 50, it is more important than ever to use your “it” factor, and your “experience”, to your advantage, and learn how to package that into your personal brand.


What Is Personal Branding?

A brand is anything—a symbol, design, name, sound, reputation, emotion, employees, tone, and much more—that separates one thing from another. In the case of Disney, it is the Mickey Mouse image, for Kentucky Fried Chicken it is the image of its founder Colonel Sanders, and more recently the KFC initials it is using more and more in its advertising.  It is what drives the marketing of these brands, and is what you will learn to apply in the marketing of your YOU, Inc. personal branding.

It is what sets them apart from their competition, and it is what will set you apart from your competition and help you rise above and stand out in the crowd.  Big business use marketing, and so should you by marketing yourself -- it should be a major part of your job search strategy.

Branding in business is common, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. After all, you might work for a business that works with other businesses, but its people working with people that make business relationships valuable.

Let me tell you a story of when my wife and I took our kids to Disney for the first time. They were young – my son was five and my daughter a toddler.  Note; all they knew was that we were on a family vacation, and NO mention of going to Disney was mentioned.  However, as we left the hotel, they in their in the backseat in their car seat, hardly able to see out the window, became VERY excited when as we drove down the highway, they started seeing images of Mickey through the car window and began yelling, “Disney!”

That is branding!!!

I will take you through all the steps you need to build your unique brand. In today’s job market, especially for us over 50, there is no room for being another face in the crowd. You have to separate yourself from the competition, and we'll learn using a strong cover letter is a great tool in our arsenal, and not just a formality..

You have to be more appealing to your target audience and you can achieve it by creating a recognizable personal brand – and we need to smash that “dinosaur”, “their too old”, “outdated”, perception that many younger hiring managers may unfairly be harboring.

We need to bring forward and emphasize our skills and experiences – that “been-there-done-that” attitude, knowledge and confidence.

Create a YOU, Inc. Brand For Yourself

How do you do that?  By first understanding analyzing famous brands, and then applying that very same approach to yourself when building your brand.

  • Define the desired perception and experience you want others to expect of you
  • Attract participants towards realizing the value that you and ONLY you can bring to the table
  • Develop your YOU, Inc. image (appearance, behavior and communication) that is in alignment with desired your professional goals.

Why Should You Build Your Personal Brand?

Building a recognizable personal brand opens professional opportunities.  Creating a vision for your future and implementing that vision can lead to...

  • A better job
  • To create a must have image that will set you apart from the competition
  • Creates a better perception of yourself, your skills, and what you bring to the table
  • Distracts from your age, and instead draws attention to the value that ONLY you can deliver

In a competitive business environment, if you do not understand the value that you bring, or how to demonstrate your unique value to decision makers, you may not survive – so create a YOU, Inc. brand for yourself that will be sought after and get you – selected and hired!


Building Your Personal Brand

Personal branding is marketing yourself and the skills you bring, and it's not just is not for the Gen-X, Gen-Y or Millennials – it also applies to those of us Baby Boomers. The only difference is that they are not talking about it; they are blogging about it, living it, and using it more than us Baby Boomers.

If you are over 50, chances are that some of the job seekers competing against you will be younger... by perhaps as much as 20-25 years.  One way to be on an even par with them is to demonstrate to employers that you are as up-to-date and as well informed as they are.

Eight Steps To Building and Targeting Your Personal Brand

  1. Get clear view of what kind of job you want, which companies and organizations will provide you the opportunities you are looking for
  2. Determine how you are uniquely qualified to help them meet their needs
  3. Know who your competition in the marketplace is, and what differentiates you from them
  4. Define what characteristics make up your unique personal brand (values, passions, core strengths, personal attributes, etc.)
  5. Develop brand-reinforcing content for your personal marketing collaterals (resume, biography, and other materials like a great cover letter) designed to generate chemistry and resonate with your target employers
  6. Move these brand communications materials online to LinkedIn and other social media, and work on building a diverse, vibrant online presence – to keep pace with younger competitors
  7. Put your online and offline brand communications to work in all your networking efforts. Work on circumventing the gatekeepers at your target companies and connecting directly with the key hiring decision makers and other employees, where they hang out online and offline.
  8. While building your personal branding platform…be aware of the story you are telling and what picture you're painting of yourself – focus on creating an online image and circle of influence in which you have credibility, credibility that will build social capital

The Bottom Line

If you don’t know the modern office technology proficiently like Microsoft Office, Excel, Word, PowerPoint – don’t fool yourself and think you can learn as you go, but do go to the many FREE resources like libraries, friends, family or take a course or two at a local college to learn them. In today’s world, many employers will test you…even for manager and executive jobs.

Invest in yourself and you will be more confident.

In these days of widespread use of technology, we all need to take charge of our personal brand and online reputation.

The primary prejudice against “old” people is that they are not up to date on the latest technology and that if they are hired for a job that is “beneath their dignity” that they will leave the moment the market picks up.

To tackle the technology issue first, your email cover letter and attached resume must be perfect, and I do not mean close to perfect, I mean perfect. While a younger person might be excused and assumed to be in a rush, an older worker will be assumed to not know how to do things or properly use the technology.

With so many qualified competitors in the job market today, landing a job requires broader knowledge of the job search landscape itself and a better understanding of your own qualifying skill sets, strengths, and personal attributes – more than ever, you need to generate chemistry when you speak and write about the value you offer.

When you understand what branding truly is, you understand why it knows no age barriers.

› Personal Branding