What is a "personal brand," exactly?
You can think of a personal brand as your self-packaging. Your personal brand includes your skills, your appearance, and your knowledge about a particular field. A good combination of all three of these things will create a highly marketable individual. In terms of your message, you should have a verbal and written message about yourself that you can provide at a moment's notice. Your message should:
- Be short and clear
- Advertise your unique, professional talents
- Combine your strengths, talents, and passions
Once you have your personal message put together, you can work on your appearance (body language and dress) as well as your knowledge about your field.
My Personal Brand is Done, Now What?
With the increase of social and professional online networks, you have multiple outlets for getting your personal brand out into the marketplace. Take a look at your online presence. What does it say about you?
Do not let your online footprint hurt your professional personal branding!
"My Online Presence is... questionable."
You never had to worry about what you were posting online before now, so how do you clean it up? It is a good idea to go through all your pictures on Facebook and delete any pics that you have posted that could hurt your image. Did one of your friends post a picture that hurts your image? Untag it! You have control most things bearing your image.
Some other things to think about when looking at your Facebook page:
- Status updates - keep it clean and non-work-related!
- Fan pages - Did you become a fan of anything that could be offensive to others?
- Wall posts - What are your friends saying on your wall?
In the end, the safest thing to do is to go into your privacy settings and set your privacy level as high as you can. One thing to keep in mind is that you will WANT an employer to find you, but you don't want them to see your full profile. Just set your privacy so that they can see your profile pic and name, but leave it at that.
Have a Twitter feed? What sort of things are you tweeting about? What are you re-tweeting? If you tweeted in the past and think it could hurt your chances at a job, start tweeting things that are relevant to your career field. Tweeting more often and on relevant, smart topics will push those non-flattering tweets down.
How can you clean up your web-presence? Get a LinkedIn account. It is a professional network... for adults. That way, if an employer Googles you, they will get your LinkedIn page as well as your Facebook profile and your Twitter feed.