Whether you’re job hunting, blogging, tweeting, or concentrating on professional development goals, you should know what the world sees when they want to know more about you.
What does your personal brand look like? Do your industry peers even know you’re there?
This is a typical exercise that you may have seen if you have done any reading about personal branding. Before you can build or improve your personal brand, you need to know what others can learn about you online.
Search results on my own name are exactly as I want them to be. My professional and career information is what I want others to see first; I make sure it is always up to date.As a representative of my company, I want to project a professional image that reflects well on myself and my employer.I use LinkedIn and Twitter regularly. These are the primary places where I want my online persona to be displayed.Where do you want your online persona to be most prominent?What did your search results reveal?
Without logging in, search the social media channels and other online tools you use regularly to see publically-accessible information about you.Suggestion: Repeat the search exercise for as many search engines and channels as possible.
What goals do you have for your personal brand?Everyone’s motivations are different when it comes to personal branding (job hunting, getting noticed by your employer, or simply wanting to engage with other professionals in your profession to share ideas, etc.) The reason it’s called personal branding is because it’s personal to you---you shape the persona that you want others to see.Develop and record your goals. Review the goals quarterly to ensure that they are still the goals you want to achieve.
What are your search results?Do others see you as a professional or not?Example: Is your personal Facebook page open to the world? (That may or may not be something you want.)
Suggestion: Tackle personal accounts first and make them private, then create professional accounts to shape your personal brand.If using corporate resources for Twitter, Facebook, user groups, or other social media channels, be sure you know your organization’s rules and get the appropriate permissions, especially before engaging customers via social media. Project a friendly, professional persona in all communicationsand follow your organizations established best practices for using social media.
Suggestion: Tackle personal accounts first and make them private, then create professional accounts to shape your personal brand.If using corporate resources for Twitter, Facebook, user groups, or other social media channels, be sure you know your organization’s rules and get the appropriate permissions, especially before engaging customers via social media. Project a friendly, professional persona in all communications and follow your organizations established best practices for using social media.
This first step is key (and it’s only a coffee break):Make the time and commit to those 15 minutes!You won’t be able to build your personal brand overnight. Small steps are the key to progress and success.Suggestion: If you did not prioritize your action list, go back and do that now so you can tackle the highest-priority personal branding changes first.After your 15 minutes, check completed items off the action list and move on with your day---you’ll be back tomorrow to make other improvements to your online persona!
Your personal brand is never “complete”. Just as your career continues to evolve, so does your personal brand!Once established, maintain a regular online presence and be an active and engaged participant in user groups, forums,discussions, etc.Keep up with industry-specific news and events (there may be a blog waiting there for you to write!)Hone your professional contact list. Surround yourself with professionals you trust and respect.Revise your goals and action list regularly.
There are thousands of articles, blogs, books, and online resources related to personal branding. Start at your local library and see what you can discover!