In a recent breakfast discussion with college students, I was asked why personal branding has become a requirement for future opportunities. My immediate response was “technology.” Years ago companies would sift through a stack of resumes trying to find that one perfect candidate. Then, populations grew. Unemployment was low but the numbers of unemployed was larger. The stack got bigger and bigger. Then, the employed weren’t happy. The stack grew even bigger. Eventually, we developed software to do a little word match to help us scan in and sort through the abundance of willing and eager professionals. Then, technology gave birth to some social tools. It was fun in the beginning. People enjoyed being able to joke around, have fun posting pictures and share lots of thoughts and events in their lives. Play time on the web didn’t last long though. Companies and recruiters figured out they could find candidates online, whether they were looking for a job or not. In fact, they could learn a great deal more than what a resume would show. Recruiters could see what potential candidates looked like by viewing their profile pictures or videos posted on YouTube. The amount of information people were posting online was begging for someone to find a way to mine it. HR departments and recruiters eagerly took up this offer. It also greatly reduces their costs but we need to discuss that here. So why is Personal Branding required? “It’s the standard.”

Students also asked “what are the challenges with personal branding?” I highlighted a few problems: more specifically, motivation, image, and coherence. Many lack the motivation to build their brand, in part due to a lack of understanding of themselves and partially due to a lack of a process. As a result, it becomes difficult to envision the image of ourselves we can promote and one that others desire. If we are promoting attributes about ourselves that are not coherent with the needs of others, opportunity will continue to evade us. Therefore, a lack personal branding efforts almost provide as many opportunities as poorly defined and executed branding activities. If you want opportunity to find you, you need to do it. If you’re going to do it, then do it right.

Yes, I said do it “right.” Now, I don’t mean there’s only one way to do it. In fact, there are so many ways to brand yourself people get confused on what to do and, as a result, end up doing nothing. Well, we don’t like to see people struggle with career issues here at BT. So, we consulted with Professor Robert M. Donnelly, to develop a simple process for creating, managing, marketing and monetizing your brand. It’s build on a single concept that we call the “Me in 3.”

“Me in 3” is the initial phase of the personal brand planning process. It involves a few quick introspection activities that help you define your brand in 3 words. That’s right, just 3 words. A simple beginning whose results will take you all the way through creating your brand. From these 3 words, you’ll develop all of the information you need to build and manage your brand, both online and offline. The process walks you through creation of your key messages, unique selling proposition, elevator pitch, profiles and more.

The major benefits to this process are:
• It’s simple and fast
• It’s organized and guides you step by step, with examples
• It builds on each activity to provide the ultimate in clarity of your brand
• It’s tried and true (and its currently in grad school)
• It’s developed by an entrepreneur and a career coach, providing two popular perspectives for students and graduates

This branding class will leave you with a published brand. There’s nothing more to do but market it (we even show you how to do that). Stay tuned for more about this unique opportunity.

Author's Bio: 

J. Todd Rhoad is the managing director for BT Consulting, an Atlanta-based career consulting company that focuses on helping high achievers grow and develop in their career and reach new heights on the organizational ladder.
He is also the creator of MBAWriters, an international group of MBA students and graduates who share their expertise and experience through their writing.

Todd also created the Henry Series of ebooks for MBAs, which provides solutions to many career related issues MBAs face. He holds a Master of Science from the Missouri School of Science and Technology and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. You can learn more about BT Consulting at