The easiest and most satisfying path to professional or business success is using your unique value to meet the needs of your target employers or market. This is the reason why personal branding is at the core of my work.
Personal branding is not about constructing an image that will appeal those you want to hire you. It's about unearthing and communicating the unique combination of qualities, abilities and strengths that make you exceptional. The value that this combination can create will help you naturally stand out from them competition and attract those who need what you offer most.
Much of our unique value comes from our natural abilities, qualities and strengths. These things can be potentially be enhanced or strengthened but they cannot be changed. These unique gifts are the essence of how we can offer something that no one else in the world can offer in quite the way we offer it.
However there are pieces of our unique value proposition that can be developed and even transformed with the right amount of time, energy and strategy. This post is a first of five posts which will discuss these things that can be developed or significantly changed to maximize the power of our personal brand and help us stand out in the global marketplace.
The first of these five areas is education and training.
EDUCATION and TRAINING
Employers and prospective clients usually expect a certain level of education, training, specific degrees or even country specific credentials when considering whether someone is a viable candidate for a job or to provide a service. One way to insure you are considered for a job or business opportunity is to understand what those expectations are and pursue getting that education, training or credential.
But once those baseline credentials have been secured, you are probably just like 95% of the other candidates or service providers being considered as far as educational or training backgrounds are concerned.
One way to stand out in this arena is to identify what additional education, training or credential would not only enhance your ability to do a job or provide a service but help you to stand out from your competition.
As as an example: When I decided I wanted to be an expat career coach, I had degrees in International Relations and Multimedia Communications. I had over 10 years of experience in professional and business development, working people on 5 continents. I was confident in my abilities to help people with their careers and business worldwide. But I realized if I wanted to optimize my performance and promote myself as such a coach I could not do so credibly without getting training and filling in the holes that might exist in my skill set. Now I have certifications in Career Coaching, Executive Coaching, Personal Branding, Online Identity Management and career assessments. My education and training not only equips me to best serve my expat professional and expat entrepreneur clients, but it helps differentiates me from my competition.
Of course experience is very important. Some of my greatest learning has been in developing training for Romanian advertising executives soon after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Tanzanian cheese makers operating with minimal resources or technology trainers running computer centers in Ethiopia. But experience not mapped to comprehensive frameworks and proven approaches will not likely translate into the most effective and efficient collection of strategies or delivery of value that would optimize a person's chances for success.
TRAINING BUILDS TRUST
In addition to helping you stand out, professional training and certification also has the added benefit of building trust with your target audience. When an employer or potential client sees that you have been trained and tested by a reputable industry organization, they can be assured that you have the skills and knowledge to deliver what you say you will.
It is very important for the expat to choose their training and certifications wisely. Degrees, certifications and training are not universally accepted. This can create real challenges when your professional life has in large part been possible due to certain training and/or credentials and the country where you want move does not accept those credentials. Doctors, lawyers and healthcare professionals are obvious examples of credential driven careers. But you'd be surprised at the requirements in some countries to do things like teach or even drive a taxicab. Without doing the research to insure that your investment in learning and/or credentials will be valued in your target country(ies), you could very well be spending a lot of time and money that ultimately will not further your goals of building a fulfilling professional life abroad.
ITS A LIFELONG JOURNEY
But because the need for different skill sets can change so rapidly today's fast-paced marketplace, it's not just about getting the education, training or relevant professional certifications. It's also about keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date and relevant. Those who commit themselves to lifelong learning will keep their competitive edge. This means having a learning plan in place that keeps you growing and evolving so you not only stand out from your competition, but due to the value you bring to any situation will naturally be seen as the candidate or provider of choice.
EXPAT CAREER AND BUSINESS SUCCESS TIP: Whether you are an expat professional or entrepreneur, it is critical in today's competitive global marketplace that you take whatever steps you can to maximize the power of your personal brand to stand out from the competition. Ask yourself:
- Is there education, training or credentials I can pursue that will enhance my ability to create value that my competitors may not have?
- Is that education, training or credential accepted and valued in my current expat home or target country?
- Do I have a learning plan in place to keep my skills, knowledge and expertise up to date so I am ready to be responsive to ever-changing employer or market needs? Or for a move to another country?
Based on your answers, identify and take specific actions to take to leverage training and education to help you stand out and get noticed by those who need what you offer.
Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3!
Would you like to use this article in your newsletter or website? Permission will be given to those who include this information: Author: Megan Fitzgerald, expat and international career coach, helps forward-thinking expats become highly visible, sought after experts and leaders and succeed abroad. Sign up for expat and international career success tips: www.careerbychoiceblog.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ career by choice can help you...become an expat and experience a global lifestyle ~ explore international career options and find work abroad ~ understand your Brand DNA and how you perform at your best ~ clarify your personal brand so you can stand out and be sought after for top jobs overseas ~ develop marketing tools and strategies to communicate your unique expertise in a compelling way ~ strengthen your online reputation to attract employers and secure international jobs ~ become highly visible, recognized and well compensated for the value you create ~ overcome challenges and grow as a leader on international assignments ~ leverage social media to build your global online network ~ develop a global mindset ~ find an international career coach and experienced guide ~ conduct an international job search ~ optimize your choices and discover success abroad on your terms by being your best self. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~