I was once very cynical about the idea of personal branding. Not so much the idea as the phrase. It struck me as jargon, the latest in a series of expressions that would eventually morph in to something new, in much the same way as Personnel became Human Resources became Human Capital (a simply dreadful term).
However the more I think about it, the more I like it. Understanding your personal brand is more critical than ever as you strive for career success. If finding a job is all about sales, personal branding is all about the marketing. Social media and the internet is the vehicle through which to promote your marketing messages.
Your email address. What does it say about you? What do you want it to say about you? Think of the impact on your job application as your CV and covering note arrives in the inbox of the Hiring Manager from firstname.lastname@example.org?
You have a choice as to what email address you use, choose it wisely. How appropriate it is to the image you want to associate with your personal brand? How will it resonate with your audience?
What about the words you use in your mail? How do you start?
Communication has become increasingly informal, it doesn’t mean we should get lazy. Hi, Hello, Good morning / afternoon, do you include a name and personalise your message or do you start with nothing at all? How do you sign off? Kind regards , Best Wishes or a good old-fashioned Yours sincerely (I can’t remember the last time I saw an email signed off like that!).
Take the time and trouble. That’s the point. That’s what the Hiring Manager wants, to see you took the time and trouble. Make it relevant to your audience, it will say much about you to the person on the receiving end of the communication. Whilst nothing is guaranteed, it will certainly improve your chances of being shortlisted.
It is difficult to get much by way of a meaningful reference these days. The first thing I do as a recruiter before engaging with a candidate is search for what I can about them online.
I google, youtube, linkedin, facebook, twitter, whatever I can to find out as much as I might need to know about you. Why? It is because my clients are doing it. I need to check you out because my client will. I need to know what they are going to find and what it might say about you.
WHEN SOMETHING IS ON THE WEB, ITS ALWAYS ON THE WEB.
When you make the decision to upload a video of your latest Saturday night exploits, stop for a minute to consider the impact that this may have on your career prospects.
I am not suggesting you shouldn’t post it, just simply consider who you will want to see it. If you don’t want me to see it, don’t put it on your wall without first considering the privacy settings. Even then remember, your friends can and will forward things on that portray you in a less than positive light.
WHEN SOMETHING IS ON THE WEB, ITS ALWAYS ON THE WEB (Somewhere, even if you can’t see it anymore).
What about your user name for your online profiles? Does PartyBoy resonate with your audience? If so, go for it. If not, go back to what message you want to promote about your brand.
I am not suggesting for one minute that we are not all deserving of a private life and certainly one that we can live offline, without the spotlight of 24/7 social media. We all have a choice. Think about your image, your personal brand, the message you want to give out and be consistent and relentless in that consistency.
There is much to be learned about personal branding and the impact it can have on your career. The expert online is Dan Schawbel and his excellent http://www.personalbrandingblog.com
Look him up today, its well worth the visit. Tell him I sent you!