With fierce competition for limited jobs, many people wonder if they will be able to land a good job. Unfortunately, the economic situation feels like a bad dream. With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology. In fact, the government estimates that an additional 1.2 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2018.

As a result, today’s unemployed workers are unsure about their future. Hope is not lost! Building a personal brand may be the cornerstone of sustaining success in the future. Many athletes and celebrities build successful brands over time. Some of them include Julia Roberts, Michael Jordan, and Stephen King. Likewise, individuals can also build their own personal brand.

Personal branding showcases your public image. Personal branding can be defined as ‘the process whereby people and their careers are marked as personal impression or brand.’ Al Pies and Jack Trout, authors of Positioning, maintain that making the best impressions is critical for business success. With this strategy, an individual should create a ‘position in the prospect’s mind.’ This impression should reflect a person’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors.

Branding includes personal appearance, oral and written communications, associations, or anything that identifies an individual. Derrick Craver, Vice President – South Zone Strategic Accounts for UPS, notes that even your work ethic serves as a brand: “It starts by coming to work on time.” Furthermore, branding defines, promotes, and protects an individual’s image online and off-line.

Finally, individuals should protect their personal brands. Never dress inappropriately in a business setting or showcase a less flattering image on social media platforms like Facebook. Your future employer could be watching. People should be careful how they are perceived during the employment stage. When a person submits an application to an employer or starts the interview process, potential employers are evaluating the candidate based on his or her brand. Therefore, a personal branding strategy can assist people with standing out from the competition.

About Daryl Green:Dr. Daryl Green has done extensive research on cultural issues impacting today and future leaders. He is an author of several books including Breaking Organizational Ties: How to Have a More Fulfilled Life in Your Current Job. For more information, you can contact him at www.darylgreen.org.