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Dan Schawbel: Personal Branding (Reverse) Mentor

August 4, 2009

dan schawbelWhat can a 25-year-old with a degree in Classical Languages teach senior communications professionals (Gen-X and Baby Boomers) about personal branding? As it turns out, quite a lot. I came across Dan Schawbel’s work last night while catching up on my online reading. He describes himself as “the leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y and the author of the bestselling career book, Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Kaplan, April 2009).” I just ordered my copy on Amazon

You can’t help but be impressed by the fabulous reviews and endorsements for Schawbel’s book and blog, as well as the volume of work he has produced at such a tender age. Clearly he has worked hard and is a good marketer. However, I also believe he has applied and embodies some fundamental social media principles that all of us can leverage, regardless of where we are in our professional development. Here are a few that stood out to me:

  • He gives a lot of information away. Take a look at the index of his blogs and articles in the Starter Guide on his page. You don’t need to buy his books or engage in his services in order to understand and benefit from his expertise.
  • He has clearly articulated his own vision and mission and openly shares it on his personal web page. He identifies his brand attributes as prolific, ambitious, energetic, resourceful a creative. His dream is to become the bridge, where qualified applicants can cross to land the positions they deserve and to create a personal branding class in every school internationally, helping students follow their passions. I credit him for the courage to dig deep, find his passion, articulate it and share it so clearly.
  • He reframes his weaknesses into his strengths. Schawbel doesn’t apologize or hide the fact that he has a degree in Classic Languages. In a recent article, he talks about how this experience has helped him be more effective in his work. All of us have experiences that we probably don’t feel is relevant to our profession. My experience has been that further reflection has revealed that some of my experiences are more relevant to my profession than I expected.
  • He melds personal branding and social media. Schawbel has the benefit of growing up in the digital age where your online presence IS your presence. I agree with him that this is the direction all professionals must take to be successful.
  • His site is a model for how to leverage social media. His site is chock full of social media capabilities and he invites conversation.
  • He is authentic and transparent about his life. He is open about his personal and professional life. He comes across as a real guy who would be interesting to meet and converse with.

As the title of this blog indicates, I see Schawbel as a mentor to his Gen-Y peers, as well as Gen-X and Baby Boomer professionals. Some organizations approach reverse mentoring as way to expose older executives to the perspective of a younger generation, thereby making the executives more relevant. I like to think of it as simply learning from a smart individual who happens to be younger than me. I can learn a lot from Schwabel and other Gen-Y trailblazers. Thank you for continuing to inspire me!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2009 12:28 am

    Thanks for writing this up Ron, I appreciate it.

  2. Cece Waters permalink
    August 10, 2009 7:28 pm

    Fascinating article, Ron, thanks for sharing. As the employer brand manager for Sun Microsystems, I’ve given several presentations on personal branding and how critical it is for long-term awareness and success. It’s heartening to see that someone as early in his career as Schawbel gets this and has a plan to share his wealth of knowledge. I’m joining you on the Amazon order list, Ron!

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