5 Ways to Build Your Brand for a Future Without Jobs

By Caroline Ceniza-Levine '93BC of the Columbia Career Coaches Network
This article originally appeared on SixFigureStart.com 

In a recent Forbes post, I wrote about the decline of traditional employment, with part of the solution being to build your brand instead of a resume.

A strong-branded product has loyal customers in good and bad economic times. You too want to build your brand to preserve your marketability in both good and bad job markets. In a future without jobs, you want to attract opportunities to you, so that the market comes to you—this includes having your network think of you when they hear of things! It is not enough to do a good job where you are; others need to know about you.

Here are five activities that establish your expertise to help you build your brand and keep your pipeline of opportunities full:


When I was in retained search, I frequently reached out to the speakers at conferences on topics relating to my openings. If you're speaking, you build your brand as an expert.

This doesn't mean you have to land on the TED stage! You can start with your alma mater, a local college, a professional association, or a religious or community organization in your neighborhood.


Similar to speaking, writing enables you to build your brand in the subject(s) you cover. I coached an executive interested in establishing his biotech credibility (he had worked in Big Pharma), so he guest-blogged for a niche biotech newsletter, and it helped him connect with the readers who reached out after reading the piece. It also acted as tangible proof of his activity in this area.

Consider blogs in your specialty, newsletters from your professional or community groups, or the op-ed section of your regional paper.


If posting a full article seems like a stretch, consider commenting on other people's posts to build your brand. If you add an insight or forward the discussion, especially if it's within a professional association or industry blog, then you stay active among your peers.

If you have connections in the media, offer to be a resource for any stories in your area of expertise (check with your employer to see if there any restrictions on working with the press).


Social media is a great platform for curating your expertise, so you can build your brand even if you don’t write full length pieces from scratch. By posting links to news and trends about your area, you establish yourself as someone knowledgeable in that area. By commenting and sharing insights about your area, you demonstrate your expertise.

As a bonus, curating on social media does double duty as a form of networking!


Finally, mentoring is a triple duty career advancement activity1) you build your brand as an advisor, 2) you network with your professional community (yes, interactions with junior colleagues is a key part of networking!), and 3) you get in-depth experience in coaching and communicating. If you don’t already have a mentee, your company may have a matching program, or check with your alma mater, a local college, professional associations, or community groups.

There are many ways to build your brand, and you can choose your activities based on your time constraints and preferences. In a future without jobs, you can't rely on someone else to employ you. Build your brand to ensure your pipeline of opportunities stays full and relevant.


Caroline Ceniza-Levine coaches executives and entrepreneurs and is a member of the Columbia Career Coaches Network. She is a career columnist for Forbes.com and formerly wrote for Money.com, Time.com, CNBC, and Portfolio. She is the author of 3 books: "Jump Ship: 10 Steps To Starting A New Career" (2015, Forbes), "Six Steps To Job Search Success" (2011, Flat World Knowledge), and “How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times" (2010, Two Harbors Press). She teaches Professional Development and Negotiation courses at Columbia University and received a grant from the Jones New York Empowerment Fund for her work with the mid-career professional. A classically trained pianist at Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, Ceniza-Levine stays active in the arts, performing stand-up comedy.

Learn more about the Columbia Career Coaches Network.

You Might Also Like:

Want to add a little Lion to your Turkey Day?  The CAA's Ken Catandella, founder of the Columbia Alumni Winemakers Collective, curated a list of wines—made or distributed by your fellow alumni—that are sure to brighten...

Although the summer is winding down, there is a lot happening in your Columbia alumni community! Read on for the latest.

Read on for the latest happenings in your Columbia alumni community.