Personal branding lesson from Chicago (the band)


Chicago is a band that started in the late 60’s and had hits extending well into the ‘80s. They toured with Jimi Hendrix who considered Chicago’s lead guitar player better than him. You can hear their music everywhere as recent as two years ago with airtime on popular, rock, and soul stations—a rarity at that time.

Gaining employment is not about remembering a face, but the product, your work.

Now, I’ll allow you to Google their early album covers to see what their faces. OK, notice the expressions. Notice that there are no faces. Did you know that they did not show their faces on any of the album covers in the 70s. In fact, not for their first 17 albums.

The band members could shop, go to clubs, get arrested, and no one would associate their faces with the band. Chicago had as many hits as the Rolling Stones during the 70s and yet, they can walk the streets, and have #1 records.

They had a TV special that featured Al Green (another major star in that period), and yet, band members could freely roam the streets without being mobbed.

So if you have a strong product, it should sell without the face like Chicago did years ago, right? Well, this justifies your faceless social profiles, right? Well, hold on a second. How great is the product YOU offer?

  1. Has your career produced a body of work that speaks for itself? Or do you continue to talk your way into an opportunity. By the way, that’s necessary but too much talking can sound like a car salesman at the end of the month.
  2. Does your personality stand out more than your accomplishments? Being liked is an important attribute, but the people can sense you have charmed your way to career success (or not).
  3. How much do you have to talk to substantiate your value? If you don’t demonstrate any quantitative or qualitative value on your résumé, you can talk too much and right out of a job.

Years later, I don’t remember women swooning over Chicago members looks as I do hearing people talk about the music. Job seekers need to heed the advice that helps their contributions stand out. Gimmicks and tricks are help sometimes, but can employer become excited about the solutions he or she offers.

So does anyone really know where their career really stands? Does anyone really care? (Pretty bad Chicago lyric paraphrasing, eh?)

What challenges do you face in standing out to employers? Please comment below. Let me help.

 Personal branding lesson from Chicago (the band)

About Mark Anthony Dyson

Mark Anthony Dyson is a Career Consultant, Host & Producer of "The Voice of Job Seekers podcast, and Founder of the blog by the same name. Download our podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, and many other podcatchers. We are helping the unemployed, underemployed, and under-appreciated job seekers find and create a voice through this platform. Need career services? See the tab that says, "hire me" tab for more information. Career advice is our thing and learning is who we are. How can we serve you today?