Build Your Personal Brand
My Grandfather Jack Farrar died soon after I had started my first full-time job. When he passed I was given a collection of his things, his watch, cufflinks and interestingly his trade union medal from the coal board. Jack worked at our local colliery, Westoe. His engraved medal states he served as a deputy from 1947-79.
My first job role was for an Engineering company that in its heyday had employed 10,000+. When I joined the world of work, the firm was reduced to 500 strong. Looking back, I was immensely lucky to spend ten years learning from Engineers who had given 30-45 years service.
Across those ten years, my colleagues and I dodged many a redundancy situation. I knew I wouldn’t be receiving a long service award. I quickly realised that I had to become an attractive asset to potential future employers. I began to build my personal brand, I became CEO of Ian Farrar Ltd.
During the last two years of my time with this company, I asked to be seconded to other departments. I spent time with production control, design department, finance team, procurement, and tendering. I was soon client facing and building fantastic relationships, I discovered sales was my passion. My new position was shaping me personally, my character, my identity.
During an appraisal I asked my manager if he would informally mentor me (there was no set scheme in place) and we put together a plan of action and achievable targets. I was gaining experience, my employer had a super keen and adaptable team member and the clients felt comfortable and confident. Win, win, win.
I was head-hunted by a competitor soon after and spent a year working on an exciting engineering project before I was again approached and offered another role with a software company. Roles that I wanted, rather than needed.
My ex-colleagues were still dodging the dreaded P45.
My plan was working. I was being recognised by industry peers, sales increased, we won more clients, my professional network had grown immensely. I was in a job that I thoroughly enjoyed and shaped as an intrepreneur.
The mission didn’t stop though. I enrolled on particular courses, joined associations, invested time in chosen networks and social media platforms.
This process is certainly not a shallow one. It is defining, with authenticity, it shapes you as a person. Through time you discover your values, your passions, where you want to be, what success means to you. You can plan out your potential vision and the rewards along the way, maybe even where your career ends and a route to work back over.
On my journey I have met with many people I admire, I ask them what steps they have took and I try to learn from them. Never to emulate, just to adjust my path, should I need to.
Building your personal brand should lead you to the perfect role suited to you. It can help potential employers understand who you are, your traits and how you stand out from the crowd…be memorable.
If I could ask Jack now if he enjoyed his time working at the coal mine, I’d hope he would say yes. Although as a boy leaving school, he didn’t really have much choice other than to light the Davy lamp.
Give yourself the choice.
Founder, Far North Ltd.