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. That is why this personal branding lesson from Chicago should resonate with those concerned about how he or she looks.

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.

About Mark Anthony Dyson

I am the "The Voice of Job Seekers," career consultant, job seeker advocate, career writer, and founder of this award-winning blog. I help the employed, unemployed, underemployed, and under-appreciated find jobs using job search strategies to navigate the new job market. I aim to give a safe place online to those with different needs, cultures, and ethnicities to find their voice in the job market. Thousands have read my career advice throughout the web as I write about everything from job search strategies to the mobile job search. I have published more than 400 articles on this blog and some of the largest career sites such as, YouTern, and Come Recommended. I've been quoted in major publications such as on Monster, AOL Jobs, Fortune, Business Insider and Levo League. Both FlexJobs and JobMonkey listed my podcast as one of the top eight podcasts to help your job search. Love for you to sign up for the weekly newsletter. I share the latest articles I've written, new podcast episodes, and answer any questions you may have. The new job search is scary and if you need help, I am here for it!

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