I came across a great blog on Personal Branding recently and it got it me thinking about the relevance of marketing principals to the individual. Within his blog, Dan Schwabel and the other contributors do explicitly state that personal branding is NOT all about getting a job. And I agree. Creating an external image that only serves a short term purpose will eventually damage the way others see you. Just like any other story, yours must be accurate and verifiable. A true personal branding effort means identifying your personal and your professional value and presenting yourself as a well-rounded, complete individual. It requires a more holistic view of yourself and the components of your life.
However, with the number of unemployed and under-employed Americans growing every day, I don't think there has ever been a better time than to start thinking of yourself as a brand. There simply is no better way to create competitive advantage through the interview process than to understand, communicate, and exemplify your own value.