Yes, you have a personal reputation. Whether you are about to graduate from college or a veteran to the workforce, you have one.
The question is, how do you market your personal reputation in a way that resonates with future employers?
Is Your Reputation the Chicken or the Egg
So what comes first- What you write about yourself or what people actually think of you?
The answer SHOULD be, what people think of you.
All too often, we obsess over the skills we’ve acquired, and while skills are absolutely a part of your reputation for solving specific types of problems, how you go about solving those problems is really the differentiator.
The job market is competitive. There are a ton of people with the exact same skills you have (and maybe more). But, no one approaches the problems quite like you. This is a really important component of your reputation.
Your actions, behavior, attitude and personal characteristics are all parts of your reputation. They become intertwined.
“Flawsome” Is Memorable
What is “flawsome?” It is a hot trend in marketing right now. (Thank you to Mike Johansson for introducing this term to me!) According to Trendwatching:
Consumers don’t expect brands to be flawless. In fact, consumers will embrace brands that are FLAWSOME*: brands that are still brilliant despite having flaws; even being flawed (and being open about it) can be awesome. Brands that show some empathy, generosity, humility, flexibility, maturity, humor, and (dare we say it) some character and humanity.
In short, “flawsome” is the combination of flawed and awesome! Humans are both! How can you use empathy, humility, humor, character and humanity to showcase you?
Does it feel risky? What if someone doesn’t like your imperfections or quirks? Like it or not, we all have them. Why hide them?
Ask Everyone How They Perceive You
There’s a saying that perception is reality. Well, are you OK with how people perceive you?
You have friends, family, professors, colleagues, etc. They all know you and have seen both the good and the bad.
Reach Personal Branding has a no-cost (15 day) assessment which can be emailed to your friends, family and colleagues, to help you get this feedback. It is called 360°Reach – Personal Brand Assessment but if you prefer to assess yourself in a vacuum, you can use this tool by Reach instead. Perhaps the best solution is to use both!
Use Your Personal Reputation
Your unique or “flawsome” characteristics can and should be part of your LinkedIn headline and summary. They can also be incorporated into your pitch. Yes, they can even be part of your Twitter bio.
As you can see, your personal reputation follows you everywhere!
Identifying your personal reputation can be difficult and maybe even a little uncomfortable. Will communicating your strengths and imperfections make you more memorable?
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.