Darn, there’s that phrase again! Personal Branding! What’s the big deal anyway. Well, the big deal is that more and more employers are choosing known candidates (referrals) over unknown candidates. Actually, this isn’t all that new, but as job seekers, we have a heightened sense of awareness about how important this is.
Your personal reputation speaks volumes. Think about what your past co-workers think about you. Were you easy to get along with? Were you innovative, were you a task master, were you strong in your resolve to get things done? There are qualities and skills you are known for in the workplace and outside of the workplace as well. You are unique in your combination of these qualities and skills. And you can influence what you are known for. You have to determine that message.
STEP 1: What is your perceived personal brand?
Ask co-workers, friends, and trusted advisors what they think of when they think of you. What characteristics, skills, talents, abilities do they associate with you.
STEP 2: What do you want to be known for?
This depends on the assessment of your values and your goals and where they overlap. What is it that you want to be doing next? Develop the wording or phrasing of what you want to be known for. Career Distinction is a fabulous book by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson. Here is the website with a downloadable workbook to help get you started.
STEP 3: Begin spreading the good word
Make sure this wording appears on key marketing pieces. Your business card, your resume, your email signature line, your LinkedIn profile, your Google profile, your Twitter account, everywhere you have your name online and offline.
STEP 4: Live your brand
You want your brand to be real, not just words on paper. You want people to believe what you are saying. You want to develop trust. Therefore, you will want to really live your brand. Make sure you use as many of these as possible to help live your brand:
- Volunteer activities
- Professional associations
- Comment on Blogs
- Start a blog
- Enrich your VisualCV with presentations and visual representation of your work
- Add Slideshare, Boxnet and other applications to your LinkedIn profile
- Contribute to groups (LinkedIn or others)
STEP 5: Monitor Your Brand
Check in with your friends, co-w0rkers and trusted advisors to make sure they are hearing the right message and that it makes sense. Is your online presence working? Where does your name fall when you Google yourself? Top of page one is your goal. How many times does your LinkedIn profile appear in search results? Is that more or less than before? If you want to see where else your work is being mentioned, you can create a no cost search using Social Mention AND Google alerts.