In a world where anyone can Google your name and instantly receive a wealth of information regarding prior employment, educational background, and geographical affiliations, the concept of “online branding” is no longer pertinent to merely notable names and industry leaders. Indeed, cultivating and curating a distinct personal brand begins with the conception of actualizing a strong professional identity. If you’ve never before attempted to define your own personal brand as part of your job search, start by asking yourself the following:
- – What are my strongest skills?
- – What unique attributes do I contribute in a work environment?
- – What would (prior) co-workers and managers say are my most distinctive qualities?
The answers to these questions can help you start to formulate the defining aspects of your brand. This branding in effect becomes your outward “pitch” to recruiters and potential employers. This messaging should be direct, concise, and unique to your skills and abilities.
Once you have finalized your personal branding concept, take steps to implement it.
Review—Become aware of what is already available about you online and know what recruiters will come across when they type in your name.
Edit—If there are already things on the internet that are perhaps, not as flattering, or even confusing to someone who may be trying to get to know you in a professional sense, do what you can minimize the clutter. Deactivate, make private, or even change the names on old accounts (Livejournal, MySpace, old message boards, etc.) Make use of privacy controls on already established social media accounts and limit what is publicly visible.
Blog—Yesterday’s “you should write a book” is today’s “you should have a blog.” Establish a space where you can contribute to the universal dialogue and make thoughtful well-researched posts. Don’t forget to spell check!
Curate—Demonstrate an active awareness in your field by commenting on and circulating professional quality content (articles, videos, industry newsletters, etc.) by utilizing social media.
Remember to be choosy about the social media accounts you maintain, as it is not worth the time or effort to maintain a dozen or more channels. Pick 2-3 that you can reasonably handle posting/updating/providing content for, and focus on those. Practice your virtual networking skills by tracking down and friending/following industry leaders, notable names, and respected personalities that have insightful things to share and make a point of reading their posts and commenting when appropriate. This will not only keep you up-to-date on the latest news in your field but also get your name circulating as well.
No matter where you are posting, be it on your own personal blog, a comment on someone else’s, or on social media, remember to be concise! Think of your exchanges as sort of “elevator pitches” for your ideas. Blog comments and social media posts should be kept strictly to 200 words or under (about two, 4-5 average length sentence paragraphs). Blog posts should ideally be around 500 words. These guidelines will help you focus on the strength of your ideas rather than idle conjecture, and will make your exchange of information easily digestible by other web readers who likewise live in a fast-paced world. These snippets are more easily read on smartphones and other devices where longer blocks of text require a tedious amount of scrolling.
If you want to chat about personal branding, give us a call or drop us a line.