personal branding

Own that personal brand baby!

Hi there guys! Been thinking about my job of late, as you do in lieu of counting sleep sheep and, in lieu of being the recipient of a fabulous inheritance or lotto win or a cashed up retiree, it’s the one thing for which I get my shit-kickers on and show up. Every day. For many of you out there, often on weekends, and for the self-employed it’s 24/7 ‘game on’.

Been thinking too about how that job can suddenly disappear. Gone. Often without warning. Redundant through a takeover, merger or close down – gone. So too, my work email address, mobile phone and contacts and, unless I’ve actively maintained my ‘brand’ in the working world, my identity. I can become invisible. Even when showing up, we can still be invisible to the world beyond our work bubble. Well, not anymore my friend for that’s the stuff I coach folk on. Being visible. Problem is, not everyone feels comfortable with the concept.

I’m a private person, I don’t feel comfortable ‘marketing’ myself

 

Regardless of whether you are gainfully employed or currently in the job market my lovely reader, this post is designed to help you kick the “I’m a private person, and I don’t feel comfortable ‘marketing’ myself” last century self-talk to the wolves and step up, shape up your personal brand and ‘own’ it!

Let’s face it; companies spend millions on advertising to build and maintain their brand image. Well, we too are a brand. We are the CEO of our brand, accountable for our brand’s professionalism, the curators of our brand’s marketing. And as social media and professional social networks such as LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook Page (not to be confused with Facebook Social) continue to emerge, even more so. (In fact, not being active on certain platforms tells something about you!)

Today we have an endless number of possibilities to build, strengthen or recreate our personal image. The question is not whether you want to be a brand, but whether you want to shape it yourself or let others do that for you!

‘Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room’

Two friends shared their personal branding benefits:

I started building my personal brand online with the help of Google +, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and my website blog long before I became an independent public speaker. Sharing successes, posting video, images and summaries of conferences I presented at, writing articles on the customer experience including my own, customer delight being the premise of all my work. Doing this showed my network that I’m an expert in that field – this helped me to prepare the ground and find clients.” (Matt)

“I‘m working as an account manager at a technical company that offers project management software. As I’m interested in fashion, I post and write regularly about the latest tech trends in that industry on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. My boss sensed that my knowledge in that industry was of value due to my client portfolio garnering more and more fashion companies, and thus assigned new customers coming from the fashion industry directly to me.” (Clare)

You can see that building a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. But when you are ready to invest some time in these steps, your career will benefit from it in ways you probably can’t even imagine now!

Six simple steps – interested?

Build your Personal Brand in Six Steps

1. A Personal Branding Statement

Concise and to the point, a personal branding statement shows who you are and what you have to offer. As you develop your statement, think about the following:

  • What are you good at, passionate about and thoroughly enjoy doing? (skill + interest = strength)
  • What makes you stand out from your peers? e.g. Your bubbly personality? Your ability to communicate complex things in simple language? Your problem-solving skills? Your eye for finding smarter ways to tackle tasks? Your ‘can-do’ attitude?
  • How do you want to make a difference? What superpowers have you used in your past and present roles and how have they benefited employers and clients?
    What do others say that you do exceptionally well?
  • What were the most important work-related projects that you completed – how did you master them? Did you collaborate with others? Have to be resourceful? Take risks? Did you have to be creative and think of new approaches, come up with new solutions? Use your network? Now identify three attributes that are common to the way you completed the projects.

Once determined you’re almost there. Compose that line and pop it above your Career Summary in your Resume, under your name in your LinkedIn profile, in the LinkedIn summary, your Facebook, Twitter, under your email signature, etc.

2. Backup that Statement

Until you have proof, your personal brand is merely hearsay. Think about all the times you used those attributes and jot down the challenges/situations you were addressing; the specific actions you took to address them and the quantifiable outcome of those actions. You now have yourself a few fantastic achievements to back up your brand statement. Add these to your Resume, LinkedIn summary, etc.

3. Audit

Now that you know how your brand looks and feels, it’s time for an audit! Enter Google. Search your name and see who shares it. If your name is common, consider using your middle initial or middle name. From there, push yourself to Google’s first page and ahead of that competition by building your brand through content on other platforms such as Google+, Instagram and Facebook Page, always with your branding byline included in your profile summary. The more active you are on your social media platforms the closer you will appear at the top. Using a consistent profile picture helps, too.

4. Consider a Personal Website

Having a personal website is not only one of the best ways to rank your name on Google; it also looks professional in your email signature and on your social media profile. It doesn’t need to be content rich. A simple site with content similar to your resume with links to other social platforms and a short bio is enough. Over time you can add a blog or a Twitter feed, YouTube links, publishes papers, anything relevant to supporting your brand message. You can also add some lines about your personal life – it gives people something to connect with instantly. Here’s mine  Jane Telford

5. Add (focused) value

Now that your brand is taking shape, the fastest way to establish yourself as an expert in your world of work is to share articles aligned with your brand message. You can do this by following Influencers, Channels and Media in LinkedIn. Be picky about the things you post, consistent in your chosen fields of interest and conscientious of the value you can provide your connections. Content that not only shows your expertise but also is of interest to your (potential) followers. Where possible, select a nugget that interested you in the article and comment as you share. Much more personable than merely on-sharing.

6. Influence!

Now the brand has been established, has been backed up with proof and further reinforced through content sharing on social media sites, being an actual contributing author can add further value to your brand. Consider using the blog application on social media platforms or even creating your own and using a savvy application to share your content automatically across all your social media platforms.

These are the steps that will help you to build your personal brand. It takes consistency and ongoing “construction” to keep the flame under your brand alight, but once you set up the basics, the brand will work for you and open new doors!

Last but not least – you can take a look at strong personal brands like Richard Branson, Andy Foote, Lets Grow, for inspiration. If you are my candidate and reading this, we are already well on the way to building a strong personal brand for that’s my expertise, my personal brand in action. We just need your story to be told right and in a unique way! Your personal brand – sharp, focused and most importantly, visible!

If you’d like to connect with me, you can find me here:  LinkedIn: Jane Telford

 

The modern day rolodex? Uh huh!

LinkedIn – the Modern Day Rolodex. Least that’s how I see LinkedIn yet as a career management specialist, I’m oft surprised when my candidates oppose the idea of having a LinkedIn Profile. ‘I don’t want people invading my privacy‘; ‘stealing my personal information‘; ‘my ex stalking me‘; ‘people pestering me to connect‘; ‘no one I’d want to connect with‘; ‘I’m shy, I don’t like to put myself out there; I don’t have Facebook or Twitter – why would I want LinkedIn?

People will steal my personal information!

Common and valid (if obsolete) objections for let’s face it, who doesn’t balk at memories of James Murdoch arguing ignorance over News International’s phone tapping scandal, Julien Assange sharing hacked top secret dialog, Jennifer Lawrence finding her private photos splashed across the net? Of course we’re wary about our privacy. 

The thing is, security protocols on sites such as LinkedIn are well managed for the site’s reputation rides on its commitment to protecting its members; and the privacy settings within are readily accessible and in our own hands. 

What’s more our private lives are not on show here, we’re talking about the professional version of ourselves being visible – to clients, potential customers, head hunters, long lost friends, colleagues; and for those in the job market – recruiters. 

But I have business cards!

Sure, people can contact you via your business or v-card provided they have one, your company’s website may even showcase your Biography and yes, your colleagues already know where to find you. But what if your position suddenly became redundant? Would you want your ‘Personal Brand’ at the mercy of an obsolete business card or out of date Bio? Your specific knowledge and expertise subjected to a former client, customer or colleagues’ vague recollections? Look on LinkedIn as your modern day rolodex.

I don’t want people pestering me to connect!


Given 90% of people Google you before they meet you for the first time, 98% recruiters and head hunters use Social Media in general to find suitable talent, 97.3% use LinkedIn and 65% rely exclusively on the site alone* to find talent, you will want these people to find you. Preferably your well executed professional LinkedIn Profile showcasing said expertise. Not wanting people pestering you to connect? Get over it!

You calling me a Social media dinosaur?

With 380 million users globally, 7 million in Australia alone, 2 new members joining every second, those without a profile are already being viewed with suspicion. Technically disadvantaged? Something to hide? Don’t be ‘that’ social media dinosaur your younger colleagues scoff at. 

I don’t have Facebook or Twitter – why would I want LinkedIn?

Think of LinkedIn as your mini ‘Personal Brand’ marketing website. And it’s free! And once you’ve established your profile you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of people who will want to reach out, connect; even head hunt or job offer you. Dig into the many additional offerings LinkedIn provides and you will soon be wondering just what all that fuss was about!

Still need convincing? Check this out: Erik Qualman – Socialnomics 2015

Stay tuned for my hints and tips for building a profile that will stand out and set you apart from the masses. Once done we’ll then take your fresh new profile from the driveway to the freeway!

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* Bullhorn Reach Social Recruiting Activity Report

Got a minute?

I’m oft surprised by the number of work force professionals challenged by the thought of online personal branding…’I don’t like to talk about myself’, ‘I’m a private person’, ‘I’ve more important things to do’. The future is digital folk and it’s time we embraced it.

But why? What does this digital business involve?

It involves dedicated webpages replacing traditional resumes; LinkedIn membership volume and currency replacing Rolodexes; WhatsApp and other messaging apps replacing phone pickup; Google+ and Google Apps replacing megabyte file sharing email congestion; global file access via Cloud storage replacing frantic midnight calls to irritated home based PA’s; MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) a veritable smorgasbord of educational opportunity developed by esteemed Universities, now accessible via our digital fingertips. The list is endless…and all tethered with the smart technology in our pockets.

Given this, we need to understand, climb on board and embrace – for how better to be found, to be seen, to promote our capability and expertise, to connect, to maintain continuous learning? LinkedIn for instance – what better platform to garner headhunter attention, job offers, new clients, fresh contract opportunities, broader networks, or tap into the vast networks of group and thought leader knowledge sharing?

But how do you find time to maintain all this stuff?

Building an online presence can sound like a whole lot of work and no matter how important we know it is, who wants to spend several hours a day tweaking their profiles, finding interesting stuff to share, considering group conversations to weigh in on, carefully narrowing a Tweet message to just 140 characters?

‘Ain’t nobody got time for dat!’

It’s a question of making time. And I do. Average 10 minutes over my morning coffee. Seriously, I’ve often queued longer for that coffee! Substantiating my claim, LinkedIn recently asked personal branding guru William Arruda how much time we should dedicate to putting ourselves out there every day. A spot of research later and he declared that nine was the magic number.

Nine. Nine minutes. Just nine minutes!! I like this man.

Devoting just nine minutes to your career and professional goals a day and your less likely to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of online brand management. Easy to get sidetracked when you’re aiming to spend an hour, or even 30 minutes promoting yourself, less so when you select just one task to boost your career every day. The more attainable the goal, the increased likelihood of actually doing it.

Here are nine ‘quickies’ to get you started: (more…)

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