Saturday, October 15, 2016

Selling Out

Our culture has replaced self-discovery with self-construction. Everybody is expected to create and manage his or her own identity. Personal achievement thus becomes the main means of justifying one’s existence. The pressure that this mindset creates is devastating. – Cameron McAllister

Candidates often ask me how they should be using LinkedIn. What sort of information should they include on their resume? Does it make sense to use other social media platforms to promote their professional brand? What sort of “personal profile” should they build that enhances their professional status. In other words if I can create my own brand, how should I do that?

These are good questions. So I answer them. And for the most part, they already know the answers. They just want validation from another source. “The Game” has become one of presentation and promotion over performance. Being noticed is more important than being worth noticing. Ultimately, you must bring value. But value without a brand ends up in a cover band playing at county fairs in the fly-over states. So I get it. You need to put yourself out there and in the right way.

But, at what point does self-promotion become selling out? We bristle at the term “selling out”. No one wants to be a “sell out”. But most of us do it to some degree. And we do it, because IT WORKS. We don’t call it selling out. We call it “getting my foot in the door”. Or “just doing what I have to do”. The world is grading on the curve and we have to keep up. Of course, recruiters know that resumes and linked in profiles tend to be “inflated” and everything is presented in the best possible light. The truth gets stretched and the turds get polished. That’s how “The Game” is played. You’re told not to oversell yourself, but if you don’t oversell yourself you end up being left on the shelf. So everyone does it and everyone expects it to be done.

I can’t tell you where to draw the line between personal branding and overselling. And each person has to determine at what point they go from competing to selling out. But I leave you with this warning...there will come a day when you find out.

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