This morning the “Today Show” began a short series called “Build Your Brand.” I was intrigued because they claimed the intention was to help people who are in the large job market how to build their personal brands. The expert, Martin Lindstrom, gave four pieces of advice this morning; one in particular sounding off my inner alarm bells.
His four piece of advice are to: define who you are; create an air of mystery; create a signature look; and leave a personal mark behind. This notion of mystery is completely counter to the advice my clients receive – except for the rare mysterious exception.
He displayed simulated examples of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewels, Michael Jackson’s white gloves, and suspenders [which seemed to pair to a tuxedo], which reminded Meredith Vieira of Larry King. Now I don’t know about you, but if you’re going to a job interview and want to make a positive impression, I wouldn’t be wearing anything that resembles Liz’s jewels, the King of Pop’s single glove, and I don’t consider Larry King a style icon. Moreover, Liz has lost her mind [poor thing], Jackson has passed on [too soon], and the King of Talk has got to be nearing retirement. How could anyone consider these examples as contemporary and as cutting edge?
It’s all blowing smoke, creating an air of mystery for the expert, but it doesn’t work for the average person.
Yes, your personal brand must be defined, emotionally and physically. You’ve got to feel who you are so you can show who you are. It’s not about being mysterious. It’s about being authentic. Why dress to make it difficult for an interviewer to understand you? There’s enough mystery in the world. An employer wants to know what they’re getting.
So if you wear baubles, a glove, suspenders, or anything unusually out of your character to a job interview hoping to create an air of mystery, you certainly didn’t get that advice from this image consultant.
Designing and managing your image is the secret science of your success.
Joseph Rosenfeld helps professional men, women, and corporate workgroups create effective visual brands. Visit JosephRosenfeld.com for details.