PwD: The Working Life: What’s Your Personal Brand?

By , February 23, 2015

One of the most important topics that I believe is critical for our ongoing dialogue in PwD: The Working Life is to think about how people with disabilities can truly create their own narratives and show their current or potential employers the value of who they are and what they can offer to an organization.

People with disabilities over the years have been a victim of circumstance and hindered by the stigma of society and what is deemed to be normal. With the advent of the digital age and new pieces of legislation across the globe, people with disabilities are given the opportunity to redefine themselves by creating their own identity.

Over the past year I have been developing and implementing a new coaching program called “Pathways to Success,” which asks the question, what defines success in both work and life and how do you achieve it?

The program was initially rolled out to young working adults with learning disabilities and those on the autism spectrum. One of the great challenges that was identified was that members of the group did not understand their own value and worth to employers and therefore could not properly “market” themselves as a valuable asset.

Nonprofit organizations, consultants and other disability advocacy groups have spent an exorbitant amount of time creating awareness about the power and value of this untapped pool of human capital. Yet what often goes undiscovered is the ability for persons with disabilities to create their own personal brand for success. Here’s a fun article in Fast Company on creating your personal brand online.

Individuals must reassess their own value and create messaging that meets their needs for success in both work and in life. I believe this can be a fundamental game-changer in employing persons with disabilities.

I would like job seekers with disabilities to take away a few things from this article.

1. You must begin to define (or redefine) your personal narrative.

2. Ask yourself: What defines success for you and what do you bring to the table as an employee?

3. Like it or not, you are a commodity and you’re selling yourself! How do you think about the pitch for yourself and what do you say in a 30-second pitch to get potential employers interested in who you are?

Let me know your thoughts of how you can create and implement your own singular brand for success in your life. I look forward to your thoughts and comments!

You can contact me through Think Beyond the Label or at jonathan@kaufmanconsulting.com

Author: Jonathan Kaufman

Professor Jonathan Kaufman is seen as an innovative thinker in both the diversity and disability arena and in organizational strategy and personal growth. He is the owner of J Kaufman Consulting, which advises corporations, governments and nonprofits around disability issues. He also lectures at several universities, teaches the Graduate program in Occupational Health Psychology for Touro University Worldwide and is a sought-after speaker.