If it’s not too late, I have a New Year’s resolution suggestion to make to all professionals, whether unemployed, underemployed, or gainfully employed. The suggestion is to simply define yourself. Do so succinctly and economically. Define your value. What do you offer? How do both your work and personal communities benefit from you? Being able to professionally and exclusively define yourself is an advantage. To become known and recognized as a quality and reliable asset is a core utility of career development. The career gain that can be realized spreads across all employment scenarios. In fact, venturing forth without a definition leaves you at a disadvantage during a time when competition for great jobs is increasing.
Large corporate institutions, as we have traditionally known them, are undergoing a transformation. It probably began way back with the growth of middle management, but is now characterized as an increasing reliance on more horizontal teams that are able to cross-pollinate ideas and result in synergistic production. Many executives are becoming more coach-like in their function. Employees are desired for their ability to get along with others, having a strong work ethic, and creative problem solving. Hopefully, your self-definition incorporates all of these virtues.
We know that small business is a major force in driving the economy. When small businesses start hiring we can expect an easing of the high unemployment rate. What drives small business? People with ambition and smarts do. In the same way that an entrepreneur figures out and communicates their value proposition, each of us should be able to do the same. Being able to provide solutions, improvements, and advantages to the marketplace is the grist for small business employees’ definitions. You wouldn’t want your business to be a white bread commodity, so why tolerate it for yourself.
The Internet has created a new entrepreneurial landscape that didn’t exist twenty years ago. In the decade just completed, expansion of information access by way of increasingly sophisticated gadgets coupled with the growth of social interconnectedness is spawning innovative and constructive self-employment opportunities. In the upcoming decade we can expect more information filtering and selection technology demanded, and perhaps created by, end users. Staying with this evolution curve can be the brand basis for many neo-entrepreneurs.
Whatever your career direction or place in the workforce, knowing your niche, your unique importance, and your significance will advance your position with existing and developing prospects. And just as important as knowing your positive traits is to become skilled at presenting and displaying them. Be in the mindset that others, be they upper management, colleagues, customers, or clients need you and that your talents are worth acquiring. Find the self-marketing techniques that are right for you. Promote yourself with the confidence that comes from knowing who you are.