Congratulations, you got the job!

You take a sigh of relief. After a longer than desired holding period you are on to the next career. You are one of the many who over the past 5 years has made a transition that didn’t go exactly the way you hoped, but for now it is over. Once again you can relax.

Perhaps in your career you had a moment like this, perhaps you haven’t. However, I’d be willing to bet if not you, it has happened to someone you know.

Now another question, how many of you (or that someone you know) spent some time in between gigs building up your personal brand? Did any of you even start a small company or go out as an independent contractor/consultant?

From what I have seen by just watching my various networks, there have been many who took to starting their own company or doing freelance work to try and find some income and wait out the storm until the next gig came. Some of them were even successful.

The Smartest Thing You Did While Waiting On The Next Thing

While it is without a doubt that many of the individuals who became “Independent Consultants” during the economic downturn weren’t necessarily looking to become entrepreneurs, there was however, one really great thing that “Some” of these folks did during this time.

They worked on building a personal brand.

It was like a sudden switch came on and they realized how important networking was. They reached into their Rolodex and reconnected with people who they haven’t spoken to for some time. Some went back to school or took technical courses to further their expertise. And the best thing of all was they were building equity in something they hadn’t done in years, themselves!

Now Keep Investing In Yourselves

I know this message may not make the average corporate manager happy, but chances are if they are paying attention to how business works, they are doing what I am about to suggest themselves.

In a world that has gone from companies offering employees lifelong employment to a society where individuals need to develop skills for lifelong employability, the absolute worst thing you can do is to quit investing in yourself. I have seen far too many people who finally land work and then they repeat the same mistake that they made before; they completely entrench themselves in the company they work for and build no additional identity for themselves.

This is exactly why building your personal brand is an ongoing endeavor; your resume alone isn’t enough.

In today’s socially connected society, we on average hold more than 250 social relationships, and it is from these relationships that our best opportunities will come.

Those that continue to build their personal brand will build stronger networks, and will find a greater number of great opportunities even when they may not be looking for them.

There is nothing wrong with giving your all to your employer. In fact, dedication in some organizations will earn you a brownie point or two. However, if you ignore your personal brand and development, don’t be surprised if you find yourself continuously struggling to get the raise, promotion or new opportunity you are searching for.

Image Credit: Creative Commons via Flickr.