The world’s eyes are getting bigger and bigger. From social media sites to smartphones to Google Glass, we can no longer hide from the digital world. Developing a personal brand is no longer an option.
Back in 2007, I remember my husband telling me he had Googled me before we went on our first date. At the time, I thought it was creepy, but nowadays it is perfectly normal for people to search for you on the Internet – it’s a doorway into a once private domain.
In a world of phototagging and 140-character status updates, it would be easy to get the wrong impression of someone’s true character. Working at a branding agency, I am well aware of the importance of portraying brands in the right light – but until recently, I haven’t thought of the importance of branding ourselves.
It’s surely not a new concept, but is interesting to note how people still don’t realize that we have a digital persona for all to see. We can use it to our advantage, or we can let it destroy our image. I believe we owe it to our careers and reputation to make sure we act responsibly when it comes to how we present ourselves online.
Here are a couple of tips to get you started on branding yourself (especially for those coming straight out of school):
1. Figure out who you are and what you’re good at.
What are you good at? And what unique skill/attribute can you bring to the table? Don’t just look at your professional expertise: add hobbies and skills that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the profession you want to get into.
2. Google yourself.
Google is your first impression. Google your name and see what pops up. Is everything up to date? If you have a personal website/url, does it come up first before any other links? Perhaps you should remove any unfavorable images that you have control of.
3. Create a brand name that will work on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
This will create consistency and allow you to develop a brand for yourself. Once you’ve signed yourself up for a series of branding touchpoints, find a site like www.hootsuite.com that can help you update all those social media sites at the same time.
4. Ask your peers, family and friends about how you are perceived online.
Sometimes people can help add skills that you never really noticed about yourself. At the very least, someone needs to help proofread your content.
Take charge of how you present yourself – your personal brand – in the digital space. In doing so, it can only lead to greater opportunity and success.