Recently I participated in a workshop around personal branding. The first question asked by the facilitator was “Who here has a personal brand?” I was very surprised to see that less than half the people in the room raised their hands.branding-and-identity

Here is the reality—good or bad:  EVERYONE has a personal brand.

So what is personal branding? Personal branding is essentially the process of establishing an impression in the minds of others about an individual—namely YOU. Everything we do either directs or confirms the impression people have of you. In light of the fact that four out of five recruiters search social media to vet candidates—and sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow others to form opinions based on profiles—it is more important than ever to take charge of your brand.

Some tips to positively affect your brand include:

  1. Check out what the world sees. “Google” yourself. On the first page of results, what did you see? Did you even appear in the results? If you did, and you didn’t know anything about yourself, what perception would you have?
  2. Determine what you want the world to see. Think about the brand you want to create. This needs to be based in reality so start by figuring out what you do better than others. What sets you apart as a professional, person, friend, etc.? Understanding what those attributes are and determining key words to reflect that will be the basis for all brand management.
  3. Use a professional headshot. What I mean by that is a clear headshot. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a photographer. But cutting out another person that is in a picture from a party is not a great route to take.
  4. Clean up your profile(s). Remove any photos, posts, etc. that can frame you in a negative light.  Slamming others or past companies or having crazy photos is a red flag to recruiters or professionals who are looking at your profile.
  5. Use LinkedIn. Not using social media can say as much about you as using it does. If you don’t show up anywhere or have slipshod profiles, it can signal being out of touch or irrelevant in today’s market. If you are averse to jumping in, at the very least, have a good LinkedIn profile.  This is the resume that you put out for the world to see. Use it to your advantage.

Remember, you have a brand one way or the other. Should you choose not to control what shape that brand takes, people will attach their own brand ideas to you and usually, not in the way you would choose.

Need personal branding help? Contact OI Global Partners!

Susan Ruhl is managing partner, CFO, OI Global Partners – Innovative Career Consulting, Inc. Susan has developed a sharp eye for how businesses get bloated with inefficiencies, cross- purposes and miscommunication – and how they can retool for a sleeker, smoother, strategically focused organization. Susan is an active member with the Colorado MS Society and frequent speaker at local associations in the Colorado marketplace.  Susan also facilitates the Denver based Executive Talent Board, a peer-networking group for C-level executives currently in the job search. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Marquette University.

Image credit: BrandYourself Blog

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