Have you taken the time to craft a personal brand that accurately represents you, your goals, and your accomplishments, or are you letting Google create one for you?
Yes, you have a personal brand, even if you have never put time into crafting it. It is what people think of you and the work you do, regardless if you agree with it or not. Don’t worry, this does not have to be a daunting task. It can be quite liberating to have control over how people view you when we live in a world where everything you say, write, tape or do can be found online.
Let’s get you back in control and walk through three things you can, and should do to create a personal brand that represents who you are and what you want to be known for. Ready? Let’s dive in.
1) Be unique
There are billions of people in this world who are competing for the same jobs, the same clients, and the same promotions. How do you plan to stand out from the crowd? We are conditioned to stay out of the limelight. Yes, it is safer this way, but where is this going to get you? Blending in and falling into the background is not going to get you noticed for the unique and interesting person you are.
It is time to take out a good old fashion pen and paper (or use your laptop if you wish) and start a list of all the things that make you different and even quirky. This can be anything from the way you grew up to the things you care about most in life.
Next, start to highlight the things that you think make you different from others to get a list of your most unique traits. Use these traits and begin to brainstorm how you can incorporate them into your personal brand goals.
For example, I am a diehard Yogi. I do not just love any yoga, but hot yoga, most specifically hot yoga sculpt that requires me to do mountain climbers in a 100 degree room with 50 percent humidity. Not to mention, this occurs at 6:00 A.M. each morning. This is a big part of who I am, but this obsession also makes me different from those around me. Yes, people think I am crazy, but mostly they think I am highly dedicated and that I stop at nothing when I put my mind to it. I mean, if you have ever tried doing squat jumps or burpees in this type of temperature before, you would surely understand.
Remember, you are trying to separate yourself from other people vying for the same things in life. Use what makes you different to your advantage.
2) Build expert power
First and foremost, you will want to identify the expertise you wish to be known for. You cannot be good at everything, so pick the area you are most talented in and start learning everything and anything you can. Saying you are an expert is not enough to establish your brand. You need to prove your level of expertise by sharing this knowledge with your colleagues, friends, family and so forth.
Keeping up-to-date with your industry is vital to building expert power. I understand finding such information can be challenging. An excellent way to save time and assure you receive the most up-to-date information is to identify the best resources to use. I’ve listed some of the most common traditional and online sources below. Choose the most appropriate for your industry and the type of work that you do.
- Set up Google Alerts and receive industry news from across the web.
- Sign up to receive industry-specific blog posts through RSS.
- Use Twitter to find people in your industry who are in-the-know.
- Use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and industry leaders. Join industry-specific groups, and get the latest updates from articles by individuals of influence that are stored in Pulse.
- Take advantage of face-to-face networking opportunities; find a mentor, join trade organizations, attend trade shows and conferences.
Lastly, the most important part of building expert power is devoting the time it takes to staying current. Staying up-to-date requires a regular commitment if it is to pay off, so work time into your schedule whenever you can.
3) Create consistency
Creating consistency across your online presence is critical when you are building your personal brand. This includes your website, blog, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, email address, and more. Each of your social networks should include the same picture, headline and background information. The information you share should be consistent and represent your brand. If you use Facebook for personal purposes only, make sure your privacy settings are set appropriately so images, posts you share, and posts you are tagged in cannot be pulled in Google.
It is also important to secure social usernames that fit with your personal brand. Some people have unique names that will likely be available, but those with more common names can be unavailable.
Here are two websites that help with claiming a username and to see if someone else is using your name on social media.
- Knowem.com – Searches for how your name is being used by others on social media.
- NameChk.com – Checks to see if your desired username is available across hundreds of social media networks.
Apply these three things to manage your personal brand and you will find yourself standing out from the crowd as an identifiable leader in no time.
Author: Christine Karel is the co-founder of Resume2Employed, an online resume writing & LinkedIn makeover company specializing in helping job seekers crush the competition. When she’s not dishing out career advice or teaching job seekers (and entrepreneurs) how to leverage social media to generate cool career opportunities, she’s most likely spending time with her husband and two children or on her yoga mat. Follow Christine on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.