Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand
by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson
Wiley, 224 pages, $14.93

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In the hyper-competitive job market, branding is vital whether you are crafting a compelling resume or delivering a quick speech about your career aspirations. Career Distinction trumpets this message to career seekers: you are unique, and it is essential to communicate your personal brand throughout every aspect of your career. Standing out among the crowd is always challenging, but it's increasingly relevant in today's career climate. The principles are good for job seekers of all sorts and especially speak to those looking to add an extra edge to their presentation.

The authors begin by examining current career trends and looking to future ones. They explore the concepts of shrinking job tenure, blurred boundaries between professional and personal lives, and the growing mobility of the workforce. All of these factors make distinguishing ourselves from the competition a necessity. For those who lack experience and accomplishments that can be shaped into an effective brand, Career Distinction suggests contributing articles in your field (paid or free), writing a blog, or volunteering for industry organizations. In the section on the importance of participating in organizations, the authors write "If you have difficulty identifying a professional or philanthropic organization that appeals to you, start one."

Of course, many of the strategies are devoted to branding yourself online in the digital age. Arruda and Dickson lay out a three step process to build an authentic online identity that will get you noticed. These steps are Extract, Express, and Exude. Extracting clarifies your personal strengths and helps you understand how others view you. The Express and Exude steps help you pinpoint the essence of your brand and how to shape it using a full array of communication tools. After the 3 E's, Career Distinction introduces four key principles to put yourself into the right mindset to succeed in the new working world. They are:

  • Stand Out - Stand for Something
  • Be Your Own Boss
  • Forget the Ladder - It's a Ramp
  • Think like a Brand

Any job seeker looking for ways to get noticed will welcome the proactive strategies Career Distinction teaches. The book includes a downloadable workbook, with access to the online 360Reach Personal Branding Assessment. Whether you are a fledgling job seeker or a seasoned veteran looking to amp up your job search, Arruda and Dickson offer a fresh, instructive take on leveraging your strengths and presenting them.

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