We are living In a time when personal information is readily available online. Although people provide résumés when applying for jobs, employers increasingly turn to social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to get a more comprehensive view of prospective (and current) employees. The image of you upside down while downing a “kegger” at a party is likely not the type of image that prospective employers want to see.
However, this is now our reality: Our lives are becoming increasingly transparent in this digital world. A personal brand is something that needs to be addressed and carefully crafted to ensure that the image we present of ourselves matches what our résumés say.
What is Your Personal Brand?
Personal branding is the way you define yourself that demonstrates your value to other people without sacrificing your self-identity or integrity.
According to Big Think expert Gary Vaynerchuk, everyone has personal branding of some kind, and this is integral to how others perceive us.
“I think that it is important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online and in the new business world is pretty much the game, and so you’ve got to be a good person because you can’t hide anything. And, more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level. I mean, if you have ever left a comment on a blog, or if you create a profile page on any public site, you are a personal brand.”
This is in line with some statistics from a 2017 CareerBuilder survey. The survey concluded that the number of employers using social networking to screen candidates is at an all-time high, increasing from 11% in 2006 to 70% in 2017. Furthermore, 57% of the 2,300 hiring managers and human resources professionals surveyed say that they are less likely to interview a candidate they cannot find online, and another 54% reported not hiring at least one candidate based on their social media profiles.
Some Big Think experts, like venture capitalist, author, and former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, say that the art of personal branding is essential for career success. However, Kawasaki also cautions in his video lesson “Check Your Ego,” it’s important to not take it too far by going down “a slippery slope toward egomania.”
How to Approach Personal Branding in Mutually Beneficial Way
“Often, people shy away from self-promotion for fear that they’ll alienate their colleagues and develop a reputation as a braggart. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Personal branding can benefit you and your company by helping others understand where you excel, and ensuring that your talents are put to use in the best way possible."
How to Brand Yourself and Market Yourself Like a Pro
In her Big Think article, Clark outlines several key points for effectively marketing yourself:
- "The first step is understanding the true value of self-promotion...
- The next step is to focus on facts, not interpretation...
- It’s important to demonstrate your expertise with stories, not words...
- You’ll also want to ensure that those stories are relevant...
- Finally, even when you’re promoting yourself, it’s essential to express humility."
Part of creating a personal brand is taking control of your social media presence on some of the main channels: Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, and Twitter. In another Big Think article, contributor Matt Van Hoven says that crafting your brand image and presence on these platforms is also essential to help control how search engines identify you. Part of this can be done by only “friending” people who are truly friends, untagging yourself in negative images, adding links to websites and organizations you want to be affiliated with on your profile.
When people search for you online, search engines like Google will compile whatever digital information is available about you, forming part of your personal brand. Get ahead of it by addressing the types of information that will be affiliated with you rather than leaving it up to computer algorithms.
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