It’s all about you:
Your Personal Brand
Once upon a time, in a dimension some of us still remember, keeping your CV up to date meant you were doing more than enough. You were all geared up to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity or leap into job search mode.
The digital era has meant that everyone, whether they care to admit or not, operates within a much wider arena; one where it pays to look at yourself as having a personal brand.
Don’t look the other way!
If the very idea of a personal brand makes you cringe and come over all squeamish – don’t!
The more fluid job market (job for life anyone?), the gig economy, the proliferation of social media and the fact that nearly everyone has a a digital footprint whether they realise it or not, means you can’t afford to ignore this. It’s much better to approach personal branding thoughtfully and proactively and so retain control over what people see when they look for, or come across you.
Personal branding, or the (OK, slightly toe-curling) idea of being CEO of “Me Inc” (Tom Peters) has been gaining traction since the late ‘90s. Ok, so you’re not a washing powder but just like a company brand, your own brand has many components. It’s not just your current job, your website, your CV or your Business page. Nor can it be distilled into that brilliant elevator pitch you’ve worked on and simply left at that.
A personal brand includes all of the above and more. It means all of your social network activity, blogging, groups you belong to and forums you comment in. And it also takes in how you participate – is it all about you or are you helpful and responsive to others? Do you take the lead, or are you an active follower? Do you comment and support others? And of course personal branding also encompasses your offline activity – the skills, hobbies and interests you pursue.
People buy people
Who you are matters. Individuals – the face behind the name – drive many small businesses and those small businesses are built on relationships – people knowing, liking, trusting and so doing business with each other.
Build likeability and make it easier for yourself by:-
– being authentic, start with knowing who you really are – what motivates you, your values and strengths
– telling your story as it evolves and changes – people connect with people they understand and can relate to
– being clear about who you want to attract – who you help, who you can help in the future and who can help you
And don’t forget to keep your personal brand clean. This is an excellent habit to get into!
Regularly search for yourself online and see what comes up; keep an eye out for spammy comments on your blog posts (use spam blockers) and spammy accounts following you on say, Twitter or Facebook.
Revisit privacy settings and take steps to delete profiles and platforms you’re no longer active on.
Tools such as about.me can help you build your online reputation bringing all your social media profiles and multiple online identities (for example your business and personal blogs or websites) onto one central page. You can secure your own domain name via a domain name registration site and also acquire personalized URLs on the main social media platforms – even if you don’t plan to use them straight away.
You CAN take it with you
Getting and keeping a handle on your personal brand makes sense. In today’s fast-changing world it’s something that is portable and transferrable.
What do you think? Do you buy into this idea of us all having a personal brand?