I want to let you in on a little secret.
Personal branding is just a fancy marketing word for . . .
Ah, now you understand what all the hoopla surrounding personal branding is about.
And, there is another word important for this newfangled marketing concept of personal branding . . .
“The basis of good planning and strategy concerning personal branding is that you take control of how you want others to see you and the brand you.”
This idea of branding yourself or building and controlling your reputation for job search and career was once upon a time simpler. I wrote about this in a previous blog post.
If your college professor informed you that a class team member said you had a poor attitude about working on a class project, then you would probably make an effort to prove them wrong.
If you heard from a coworker that your boss thought you were lazy, then you would likely set out to change this perception.
I am talking simply about the concept of reputation management. And, just as companies use public relations to try to manage the reputation of their brands, individuals can do the same.
That was then and this is now.
And Along Came Social Media
Today, whether you like it or not, your reputation (or lack thereof) has moved onto the World Wide Web.
Now thousands of people that may not know you personally can and will form an opinion about you and your digital life and activity (or lack thereof).
1. A potential employer may use LinkedIn to confirm that your LinkedIn profile matches the dates and details on your resume or job application.
2. A potential employer may search Google using your name to determine if your online social identity and social sharing confirms and reinforces the career interests presented in your cover letter or job interview.
3. A social recruiter may search LinkedIn using keywords that match a job description for a new career opportunity where you are a good fit.
4. A potential customer or client may search the web using Google or Bing to see what you talk about on the web (good or bad) and what others are saying about you and/or your company.
5. A current employer may search Facebook and Twitter to uncover your personal interests or personality traits before assigning a job with a high profile client.
And this could influence your current or future job and career.
But, individuals don’t need a big public relations department and fancy brochures and press releases to do this.
You have social media.
While you don’t necessarily need to develop social media marketing strategies to manage your reputation with professors, coworkers, and bosses, you can do that in person. And, it still stands that your actions and performance around these important career stakeholders and influencers speak louder than words.
You do need personal branding and social media strategies to manage your reputation with those that don’t know you yet, such as potential employers, future bosses, social recruiters, and/or potential clients or customers.
And, if you have any kind of digital life, and I am sure you do, then you need to manage your reputation there. For now:
“More than ever in the history of the job search and employment, it is easier for someone that does not personally know you to search the web and form an opinion about you and your abilities.”
In essence, you are the public relations manager of your personal brand. So, perhaps it is time to learn a bit more about this.
And you should start controlling and branding the image and perceptions and reputation of your digital life.
By the way, don’t tell anyone that you have discovered this little secret.
Just show them.
Recommended Resources for Personal Branding & Self Marketing
The Way of Personal Branding [Infographic] by @JorgenSundberg.
Personal Branding Top List on Twitter.
Favorite books on Personal Branding & Self Marketing on Listly.
Do you recommend any personal branding or self marketing resources? Thanks.
Photo credit: adapted from photo by Jeff Weston on Flickr
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