Personal branding isn’t about self-promotion but defining yourself. If managed well, your personal brand will showcase your accomplishments and will open up professional opportunities that will lead you to better jobs, more contacts, and industry recognition.
Your personal brand is who you are on paper, in person and online. It’s your reputation. When you deliver your personal brand consistently and clearly, you will stand out from the crowd as someone who has unique skills and a strong understanding of who they are.
You don’t need to create a personal brand. You’ve had one all along. And you have the power to shape that existing brand, deliberately guide it into something positive, impressive, and respectable.
Your online presence
Thanks to the surge of social media, we now have the opportunity to manage our own online reputations. It has come to a point where how you are represented online may be more important than how you are seen in real life.
If you have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile or your name has ever been mentioned on your alumni website or your friend’s personal blog, then you will come up in a search. Before you are invited in for an interview, employers will Google you. Based on what they find, they will start to build an image of who you are.
You certainly don’t remember every status or photo you’ve ever posted, but the internet sure does. It never forgets. And because it never forgets, your every tweet, retweet, photo posted, public status, page liked, forum joined, Instagram post double-tapped, and shared article has shaped your online personality, determining your personal brand.
All these digital footprints you had unknowingly left on the web will be dissected by potential clients or employers.
Build your brand and let people know who you are
Be consistent by using the same name across all your social media accounts. Make it easy for potential employers to find you, understand you, identify that you can be an asset to their company, or trustworthy to do business with.
Your personal brand is relevant no matter what stage of life you are in, what industry you are in, or how old you are. You could be an entrepreneur just starting out your business, right out of college looking for your first job, or a professional about to be interviewed for that VP position.
While it is a personal choice to keep aspects of your life private, what you choose to share for public consumption will help build your brand. But don’t mistaken exposing every intimate part of your life as honesty. Do allow access to the parts of your life that are relevant to your professional success.
Focus on your strengths. Be authentic and honest about your achievements.
Be careful of what you post. Think before you tweet. Consider what you’ve written on your blogs before publishing it. Be deliberate in what you share and you will have control over what people will find.
However, managing your personal brand doesn’t mean stifling your creative process. It means being mindful of posting anything publicly that could potentially harm your reputation.
Your personal brand as your digital resume
Your resume can only say so much. The problem with a resume is while it lists all your impressive +credentials, it doesn’t showcase your personality.
When you are applying for a job, you will be one of the dozens with the same amount of experience who graduated from a reputable school who has used the word “passion” in their cover letter.
A quick search of your name will lead them to your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, personal blog, or Instagram account. If you are a marketing professional, they may think your blog on the latest trends in digital marketing innovative. If you are a photographer, your Instagram feed may showcase that your visual aesthetics complements the vision they had for their next campaign. Your public Facebook statuses and personal photos may create a representation of your character that is the perfect cultural fit for their company.