That all depends on whether you’ve given much thought to and taken action on  your personal brand.

I interviewed my buddy and fellow personal branding expert, Dan Schawbel, for his insight on the this powerful business subject. Dan believes a strong personal can attract both business and career opportunities like no other magnetic force. Click the image below to watch the interview.

Read on for Dan’s added thoughts on the topic of personal branding.

The Importance of Personal Branding: How to Stand Out in Today’s Opportunity Market
Stay relevant or stay unnoticed.
You need to be relevant to be desirable in the marketplace, and you should prepare yourself for the careers of the 21st century. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 60% of all new jobs in the 21st century will require skills that only 20% of current employees possess. You need a sense for what skills are important in your chosen industry, and which ones might be significant in the future.

Find your niche– you have to specialize. Being a generalist will help you adapt to new jobs because the market changes all the time, but specializing will make you more desirable to hiring managers. In fact, 71% of hiring managers are looking to fill “specialized positions” while 61% of job seekers considered themselves to have “broad skill sets”. Companies are looking to hire experts in their fields to solve real business problems. Become an expert in an in-demand field and you will have leverage over the recruitment process, make more money, and securing a stable position. Once you’ve chosen your field of specialization, you can become an expert by getting a second or advanced degree. Schools like DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management offer specialized bachelor’s and master’s degree programs focused on high-growth career fields. You should do some research online to find flexible and affordable opportunities to dial in your personal brand niche.

The competition is relentless. The economy has created a tough job market for most individuals, especially inexperienced college graduates. There are currently 2 million unemployed college graduates, and companies are hiring 22% fewer graduates. Our country is becoming more educated with about 40% of Americans having college degrees. Having a college degree is extremely important for building a foundation for future success—a general bachelor’s degree is a great entry point, but having advanced or second degrees is a way to make yourself stand out and advance your personal brand.

Interpersonal skills are becoming more valuable. A brand requires a personality if it’s going to be distinctive. Your personal brand needs to be personable and attract positive attention. Organizations are starting to place a higher value on interpersonal skills (communication, teamwork, organization) and cultural fit, instead of technical skills and experience. A new survey by Right Management shows that 31% of companies feel that organizational culture and motivation fit is important, while only 12% are for technical skills, and 11% are for relevant experience.

Perception (how we present ourselves) is king. It’s the little things that count, whether you’re in an interview, or interacting with people online. A CareerBuilder survey states that 67% of hiring managers say that failure to make eye contact would make them less likely to hire a job candidate and 38% said lack of smile. People will judge you on small things that make a big difference.

For more on Dan and  a copy of his new personal branding magazine visit his website too.

Dan is the author of the #1 international bestselling career book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing). Me 2.0 made the New York Times summer reading list for job seekers, was one of three social networking books recommended by Shape Magazine, was the #1 career book of 2009 by The New York Post, is a #1 bestseller in Japan, and is also being translated into Chinese, Korean, and French. Recently, Dan was named to the prestigious Inc Magazine 30 Under 30 list.

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