Last night I spoke about personal branding through social media for a new chapter of the Scioto Ridge Job Networking Group. Before my talk, I got to sit in on part of their meeting and was impressed by what I heard. For anyone who is in career transition, expecting a layoff or searching for a job, I highly recommend this group for networking, assistance and support. They seem like a truly great bunch of people.
Personal branding is all the buzz in the blogosphere again this week due to a popular new book - plus several social media movers and shakers changed jobs and took their personal brands with them. Personal branding will continue to be a hot topic while we’re in this recession because with many folks seeking jobs, it’s one of the best ways to differentiate yourself and rise above the rest.
In my presentation last night and in this post, I don’t cover how to find or develop your personal brand – I don’t claim to have any expertise in that beyond my own personal experiences. I will however offer my tips on managing your personal brand. These are taken right from an answer I provided on LinkedIn yesterday in response to a question by Perry Maughmer.
My top tips for managing personal brand through social media and real-world networking are:
1. Offline, online and at all times, be sure your actions match your words. Be a person of integrity. Be consistent whether in public or in private and whether at work or on personal time. Remember that what you say online to one person, one time you are really saying to all people, for all time. Confused about whether you can maintain a separate personal brand and “professional identity” online? I’ve seen people attempt to manage multiple identities, but my take is that it’s best to have one unified personal brand online that incorporates your personal side and your 9 to 5 side. Everything you do online leaves tracks, and it’s pretty easy for those in the know to connect the dots between your two profiles or identities. Social media can get you hired… but it can also get you fired.
2. Google yourself (set up Google Alerts or an automatic calendar reminder to do this monthly) to be sure the results that come back are positive and reflect well on you, your personal brand, your family and your profession/chosen career. Know that you’re being Googled by others including employers, future and current employers, colleagues, clients, prospects, lawyers checking you out for jury duty, even friends and family members. Act accordingly (see #1 above).
3. If something comes up in your Google results that you view as negative – or if there are no results at all for you – take steps to correct that if you can. Be sure you are consistently producing enough good content through blogging and blog commenting, meaningful social networking and other forms of online content generation and participation so that the good stuff far outweighs the bad and pushes the negatives down farther in the search rankings. I’m no pro on search engine optimization, but I know where to find the good stuff to learn what I need. When in doubt, check the most popular bookmarks on Delicious tagged SEO.
4. Build a strong network online and off by making genuine, authentic connections wherever and whenever you can. Be yourself, be memorable and share knowledge and value – whatever that means for you and your situation. Always seek to give more than you get. The people I know with the best personal brands are the ones who are constantly connecting by sharing their knowledge and giving away tips, info and resources. For example, a colleague and friend of mine just started a job networking group specifically for marketers in career transition. Great stuff. And to that end, I’m including a few more useful links – Me 2.0 is a hot new book on personal branding by Gen Y expert Dan Schwabel (give it a preview here), plus I’ve amassed a few other relevant resources on Delicious.
So, what have I missed. What are your favorite personal branding tips? Any other good insights for job seekers or folks in career transition?
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