Your personal brand is nothing more (or less) than the image you project to others. It’s the whole (although abbreviated) picture of who you are and what you do–professionally. Online, it’s the sum of the parts. A large (maybe the whole) purpose of creating and maintaining an online brand is so that people who don’t know you (employers or potential clients/business partners) can find you, evaluate whether they want to meet you/work with you/recommend you. And that’s why it’s a big deal.
Your online brand is your first impression for people, job leads, or opportunities that might miss you if it’s not everything it could be. And, it’s definitely a piece of the puzzle for those who have met you in person and are looking to find out more. If you don’t think a hiring manager is going to look around online for more information about you before they make the offer, you are seriously misguided. So, what can you do to make sure your online brand identity is a strong recommendation for why someone should hire you?
1. Use every opportunity to establish a presence.
Although LinkedIn is my favorite online networking site, you should also incorporate Twitter, Facebook, Visual CV, and others. (One article says that you should “cybersquat as much social real estate as possible” to both strengthen your online brand and to combat social identity theft.) Make absolutely certain that every site provides a professional profile with dynamic words that describe who you are and what you do.
2. Make sure your photos are professional and consistent.
Attach a head-and-shoulders professional photo to each of your online pages. Having the same photo on all sites will help those who don’t know you recognize you. And please remove the too-personal photos of you with your friends at the party, or you at your political function, or anything else that could cause controversy. If you’re trying to land a job in medical or health care sales, you want potential employers to concentrate on your job skills without anything else getting in the way.
Join groups and discussions, and try to share something of value to help others. Always keep your brand in mind as you contribute your thoughts and ideas. (It’s not hiding the “real you,” it’s simply keeping a public face that’s separate from your private one. Or, to put it another way…there’s a lot you wouldn’t say in front of your grandmother that you wouldn’t hesitate to say in front of your friends. Think of cyberspace as your grandmother. ) You decide how you want people to see you, and develop a consistent theme. It presents a unified, clear, positive image to the rest of the world that will pay off for you in your career.
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.