Why Modern Blue Collar Workers Should Start Personal Branding

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bluecollar“Branding” is obviously a buzzword in offices around the world, but the concept is so popular that the term has started catching fire in alternative workplaces, as well. Tradesmen and laborers in a variety of fields must keep eyes and ears toward their brands to ensure their customers are receiving the service and treatment they expect. To achieve this, blue collar companies are paying more attention to their employees — and their employees’ personal brands.

Personal branding has long been associated with high-profile careers in marketing and communications, but now workers across industries must understand how to cultivate an employable identity. While it may seem that tradesmen and laborers are too far removed from the culture of branding, in truth, even blue collar workers benefit substantially from developing a personal brand. Here’s why.

1. Start Standing Out and Showing Off

In many ways, tradesmen and laborers have skills that are more refined and demonstrable than white collar workers. During the course of their careers, blue collar workers learn to create with their hands, and at the end of a project, they have concrete structures that demonstrate their abilities. Physical, verifiable evidence of one’s talent and experience is something that most office workers lack, and something tradesmen can use to make their personal brands stand out.

Just as corporate brands elicit certain emotional responses from consumers, a worker’s personal brand can influence future employers in positive ways. With powerful stories and images of past projects, blue collar workers can separate from the crowd and impress their peers and superiors. By transforming hard work and talent into a tidy personal brand, a laborer can gain a reputation that will keep them comfortably employed for decades.

2. Start Exploring Other Opportunities

Because a personal brand is such a powerful tool to gain employment, blue collar workers can leverage their brand to explore employment opportunities they might never have considered. For example, after gaining experience as a truck driver, an individual might have enough brand equity to start his own freight business. Alternatively, a strong brand may help laborers find work in adjacent industries, such as construction, renovation, and interior design. Like white collar workers, most blue collar workers are not content to remain in lower levels of employment for the duration of their careers, and effective personal branding strategies allow them to grow and search out other prospects.

3. Where to Start

While much of a white collar worker’s last years in schools and first years in the workplace are focused on how to sell oneself to earn dream jobs, raises, and promotions, blue collar workers receive almost no training when it comes to personal branding. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to start developing a personal brand in any field. Here are three simple steps to help anyone create a captivating brand.

Step One: Think about what makes you different. As mentioned previously, tradesmen are more clearly distinguishable due to their perceptible skills. You should consider which services you are most confident performing and craft your brand around these. By focusing on your strengths and specialties, you can create a niche market for your unique talent.

Step Two: Use more than writing. Also noted before, blue collar workers usually have a physical manifestation of their toils when a project is complete. You can better use this concrete (or glass, or plaster, or metal) proof of your skill in multimedia — such as videos and pictures — to show potential employers and clients what you can do.

Step Three: Have a positive online presence. Many blue collar workers draw a line between themselves and new technology, but more and more companies are turning to the Web to find workers. By being visible online, you allow your potential employers to learn more about your work, which sets you above other candidates. You should maintain profiles on top social media sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, where you can showcase your work with video and pictures.

By differentiating themselves online, tradesmen and laborers can make names for themselves inside and outside their chosen industries. Personal branding isn’t just for those wearing white collars. More and more trade industries are relying on the same tools as corporate offices to garner attention from clients, and workers in those industries should do the same to excel into the careers of their dreams.


Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

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WarKitteh: A Cat Collar for Hacking Neighborhood Wi-Fi

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This year’s DEF CON hacker convention in Las Vegas will feature a special kitty-themed device: The WarKitteh, a special cat collar that can sniff out your unsecured Wi-Fi. Put the collar on your mobile feline of choice, and it will help you locate unsecured wireless connections in your neighborhood. Free Wi-Fi anybody?

The WarKitteh is the brainchild of security researcher Gene Bransfield, who knows that cats are the most interesting things on the Internet. During his Schoocon Firesides presentation, Bransfield admitted to using cat photos to keep people awake. After all, 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic is dedicated to cats.

“Cats are more interesting to people than information security,” Bransfield told Wired. “If people realize that a cat can pick up on their open Wi-Fi hotspot, maybe that’s a good thing.”

Coco, a siamese cat in Washington D.C., was able to help Bransfeld located 23 unsecured, hackable wireless hotspots using WEP encryption dating back to 1999, rather than more secured, WPA secured protocol. WPA superceded WEP and became the preferred security standard for Wi-Fi in 2003 — over a decade ago.

Open access networks and those using WEP are at-risk for hackers and hacker cats, though Coco has no intentions of  waging a Wi-Fi war against your data anytime soon. ”My intent was not to show people where to get free Wi-Fi. I put some technology on a cat and let it roam around because the idea amused me,” said Bransfield who added, “But the result of this cat research was that there were a lot more open and WEP-encrypted hot spots out there than there should be in 2014.”

After delivering a presentation wherein I used many images of cats for humor value, an audience member offered to lend me their cat tracking collar. The collar contained a GPS device and a cellular component and would track your cats movements throughout the neighborhood. If you got nervous, you could send the device an SMS message to receive a current GPS hit on the collar’s location. Me being the guy I am, I thought “All you need now is a Wi-Fi sniffing device and you’d have a War Kitteh.” I attended another conference and someone brought their dog. The dog was loaded down with a doggie backpack containing Wi-Fi hotspots. They called it a Wi-Fi Service Dog. I observed that if you loaded the backpack with different equipment (e.g. a Pineapple) you could create a Denial of Service Dog.

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