Not too long ago personal developing centered on self-development. Today, however, it’s more about self-packaging1 or personal branding. You can use your personal brand as a tool to enhance your career whether you work for someone else, or yourself. Employees with strong personal brands are a huge company asset. “Google is already a main reference check in the job-search process. Hiring managers and executive recruiters expect serious professionals to have a powerful online identity.”2
Mistakes to Avoid in Personal Branding
- No Strategy
One of the biggest mistakes people make in personal branding development is to dive in without thought to a strategy or professional fulfillment.
- Being Fake3
Who are you? What do you want? It’s important not to create an image of yourself but to be yourself.
- Lack of Focus
Have an understanding of who you want to communicate with otherwise you’ll find yourself trying to be everything to everyone. This doesn’t work any better online than it does in real life.
- Doing it all Yourself
You can’t be a top professional in all areas. Hire a graphic designer for a few hours to get that great logo, or get a good content person to help you with your copy, and if you need help setting up your webpage – find it! It doesn’t always have to cost you money – remember the barter system. Buddy up with people who are also working on their personal branding and trade talent to help each other out.
- No Metrics
How are you going to measure success? Number of Twitter followers? Blog comments? Books sold? Decide what success is going to be for you and then keep track of what’s working to improve your success and what is not.
Tips for Personal Branding
- Be Consistent
Develop a message that you want to put out there consistently. Think before you dive in and know what you want to communicate, how you’re going to communicate, and how you’re going to link it all together. Be consistent with the colors you use, too!
- Be Selective with Social Media
Social Media is exciting, growing, and yes, a bit faddish. This makes it even more important to use the right tools for you and your brand development rather than following the latest craze.
- Offer, don’t Take
It’s not all about youyouyou (sorry). You need to offer value and information and promote your community as well as yourself.
- Follow You
Use tools to keep track of what is being said about you. For instance, use Google alerts so you know when your name pops up on the web and TweetBeep for Twitter mentions and so forth. Addictomatic ( www.addictomatic.com ) is fun. Put in your “name” and you can see how it comes up from many different areas. (Bear in mind it will not distinguish between you and everyone else on the web with the same name).
So, develop your personal strategy then take your consistent message and move it across all your outlets of communication – including your business cards, flyers you hand out at speaking engagements, your website, social media, blogs, and any place else you want your voice to be heard.
- Personal Branding
- Personal Branding Predictions: Top 10 for 2010
- How Not to Build Your Personal Brand: Top 9 Personal-Branding Mistakes