In the new world of work, instant visibility is both a blessing and a curse. Everyday we are faced with endless opportunities to grow or damage our brand.
Blogs, tweets, social media interactions and other online vehicles all bring new and rapidly unfolding ways to leave our mark, share our expertise and bare our thoughts.
However just as many are finding the confidence to dip their toe into the online ocean, others are finding ways to use or exploit it. Predators in identity fraud are sifting through our personal information looking for weak spots, new intelligence businesses are trawling social networks for commercially sensitive information to sell to rival companies, and recruiters and employers are checking our digital dirt looking for past indiscretions. So how do you manage the risks while taking the critical steps to building that all important visibility in today’s workplace?
1. Manage your privacy settings. Take the time to check and recheck your Privacy settings on any social media you are using. This way you can control who sees your personal information.
2. Never drink and tweet. What you said last night after a few wines never looks as funny the next day.
3. Google yourself regularly to ensure no-one has published anything about you that is untrue or damaging to your brand.
4. Think before your press the post or submit button. Recheck what you have written to make sure what you want to say is being conveyed correctly.
5. Avoid saying anything derogatory about others that may see you caught up in legal action.
6. Never reveal anything in your social media that will have you in breach of company policy.
Finally remember putting yourself out there in the cyber-world will enable you to build your brand but will also occasionally bring others who disagree with you and your opinions. Manage these people with grace and dignity and if all else fails – block them.
Looking for some more tips to build your personal brand. Don’t miss my podcast on Personal Branding for the CBS business site BNET.com. You can listen to it here.
I just heard about this super cool application, Wordle, from an industry colleugue, and I immediately loved it. Basically it gives you a ‘visual wordmap’ or ‘word cloud’ of a document or text by analysing the most common words. Of course I immediately wanted to see what my personal brand would look like in this format, so I revisted my original personal branding profile complete with my goals, values, vision, passions and atrributes, along with my personal brand story. Click here to see the result Personal Branding by Gillian Kelly.
Try it for yourself.
Many graduates think that personal branding isn’t for them. They assume just because they don’t have much career experience they have little to sell and so it won’t be worth it. In fact the opposite is true.
Never is it so competitive to get a job than as a graduate entering the workplace and competing against thousands of other graduates in the same field. This is the time to differentiate yourself! To stand up and showcase what you bring of value to future employers and why they should invest in you over others with the same qualification.
But how do you do this? Building a personal brand shouldn’t be taken lightly. To do this properly demands that you dedicate time to building insight into your target market (particularly employers in your sector) and then analysing, extracting and honing your key brand attributes that will be relevant to them. Your brand needs to be authentic and based on your true strengths and passions. Faking a brand that isn’t you will never work.
For graduates serious about personal branding you can employ the services of a personal branding strategist or read books on the topic such as Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixon. This will enable you to build a brand that will enhance your competitiveness and set the foundation for your career in years to come.
Once you have your personal brand, its time to communicate this to the world at large. For graduates your resume is a prime place to do this. Build a branded resume. If you can afford it, employ a professional resume writer who can ensure your opening profile in your resume highlights your brand and that your resume then backs this up with evidenced achievements of your accomplishments to-date. Include extracurricular activities, industry experience, internships, anything that reinforces your brand and differentiates you from your peers.
When you have a killer resume re-assess your image and make sure it’s sending the right signals and then start building your network. Effective networking is always the best tool for career marketing.
Finally remember personal branding doesn’t stop when you get a job. Continue to build your professional brand in the workplace through a consistent professional reputation based on the value you bring to your employers and industry through your unique strengths.
To all graduates out there making the jump to the workforce – good luck!!