Hi, I'm Amy Giaculli. In this final course of the Career Brand Management specialization, we'll explore strategic self-marketing and personal branding. The goal of this course is to help you showcase your skills to prospective employers and other interested parties such as your colleagues, supervisors, or if you're an entrepreneur, potential investors and customers. To accomplish this goal, we'll need to closely examine the concepts of career brand and branding. As you may recall from the previous course, a person's career brand is not how the person sees himself or herself. A career brand is a perception of the person's skills and capabilities in the minds of other people, most notably, employers and colleagues. We can also call it a professional reputation, or professional image. Traditionally, personal branding was reserved for celebrities such as royalties, politicians, athletes, and artists. But with the arrival of the Internet and social media, almost everyone has obtained a digital identity and can now use branding tools and techniques for self promotion. In this course we'll focus on career branding. To begin, let's think about how career branding actually works. Like any other brand, a career brand is meant to create in the customer's mind a point of differentiation with other brands or unbranded products. A career brand works as an inner voice telling the employer, choose that person, and this is the one I really want to get on board. Career developers can actively form their brands by creating and promoting their digital identities to prospective employers. But the problem is that all job candidates may be sending the same kind of signals to employers. To understand how the receiver's mind processes those signals, let's think about how employers actually make hiring decisions. Interestingly, the way employers handle selection seems not to be very different from what consumers do when buying a complex product or service. Initially, they both scan either applications or available offerings, looking for desired characteristics or skills. As a result, they select a group of comparable offerings or job applicants that best fit the requirements. The model of skill-based selection that we examined in course one describes this process very well. The same model also allowed us to demonstrate how using skill building tools and techniques can help candidates excel in competitive selection and get into the selection playoffs so to speak. What happens next when employers or consumers face a problem of making a choise between the few remaining candidates or products with comparable characteristics? The candidates that made it to the selection playoffs are probably very good, or excellent, or even exceptional in terms of acquired functional skills. To win the race, a successful candidate will need to make the most distinct impression, so the selection team will feel that by selecting the particular person, they're making the right choice. This is where we need to switch from the functional to the emotional side of career branding. On the emotional side, career branding is all about building a powerful professional image for promoting one's self in the crowded marketplace. It can be achieved by building a professional reputation and purposefully crafting the desired image and then communicating it through impression management. By doing so, job applicants attract attention, create interest, develop trust, establish relationships, and ignite a positive emotion. Through reputation management and impression management, a successful job applicant helps to create a positive image of his or her skills and capabilities in the employer's mind by connecting the unknown with what they already know and see favorably. The intended result is a positive hiring attitude leading to a good job offer. Because this is similar to what companies do when they promote their products or services to prospective buyers and want them to become loyal and devoted followers. Let's look closely at how companies actually do it and figure out what we can learn from that and use for career branding. In the business world, companies use marketing strategies and techniques to push their products and services to consumers through promotion, advertising, and by other available means. They also pull their products and services by helping consumers create desired brand images and link them to personal values, aspirations, and attributes. Brands help instantly transmit complex messages and transform them into positive emotions in the consumer's mind. As a result, for a happy customer a branded product or service becomes more than just the sum of the physical attributes. It brings value, trust, harmony, and peace of mind. There's a lot of research on marketing and branding in the commercial world, and it is certainly of interest to draw on that literature, to see what may be useful for individual career development. The intended result of career branding efforts is a strong career brand. Eventually, it should lead to career growth. A strong brand is one that is based on a strong skills portfolio and reinforced by a powerful personal image. Both components should be in place. Otherwise, if skills are strong but not promoted as needed the resultant brand is generic and may undermine career growth. On the other hand, if a personal image is being heavily promoted but not rooted in real skills, that brand is going to be inflated, unstable and may quickly vanish. In this course, we'll focus on building a powerful personal image and answer the following questions. What can we learn from business strategy about marketing and brands? How can we develop a sound self-marketing strategy? How does personal branding work? How can we use impression management? There are four weeks in this course. In week one we'll examine career brand management as a skill that any career developer should master. In week two we'll focus on self marketing strategies and tactics. Basically, this is about what you can take from business strategy and implement in a career self development context. Week three is dedicated to personal branding. This is where we'll try to get into the employer's mind and see how you can proactively manage your image. Finally, we'll review the entire specialization in week four. During the course, we'll continue working in the career development lab. And we'll be relying on the self-coaching tools introduced in previous courses, such as the skill building dashboard, t portfolio, the self assessment grid. We'll also introduce new tools, such as the showcaser and the brand equity builder. But before we do it, we'll need you to think about your desired professional image and the brand promise that you're going to deliver to the prospective employer. Previously, we talked about your future work self in terms of desired competencies and skills. Now it is time to think about how to package and showcase your skills and make sure that the employers, colleagues, supervisors, investors and all other interested parties get the message and act on it. Are you ready? Let's get started.