Monday, October 18, 2010

Personal Branding in the Digital World

2 convergent realities – first the work world is changing and there will be more likely a chance that many folks will be either working in smaller organizations, contracting individually and making more frequent changes than ever before. Second, – you will be more and more defined to the outside world based on your “profile” stored in various places on the internet, and this is how you will be found by those seeking your skills and backgrounds
Therefore the new reality is that it is worth seriously considering what that profile says. This is personal branding. I don’t know what others have written on this topic, but I can tell you, it is important to understand this new reality. I am referencing professional sites such as Linked in here, but obviously watch out that you don’t do stupid things that can work against you on the Facebook type sites that are purely social.
How do you go about gaining a personal brand. Pretty much like Delmont markets a can of peas.
Define your target
Who do you care to engage? Be specific, not general. Appeal to those folks who need your help, services and expertise. It is also more likely to be internal and external recruiters. Your target should be those people that are searching for backgrounds and experience and looking for some talent. While it is important to reach out and build a network of old colleagues or friends, they are not usually the folks who are hiring. Make sure your profile is not written for them (even though it will be viewed by them)
Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Be clear about what you do and what you offer. State it clearly in a conversational tone. Do not go into list mode. Start with a personal story about yourself and why you do what you do. “My goal has been to help CPG organizations launch game changing innovative products” might be better than starting with a list of accomplishments. It is what someone would say if asked, to a friend. Write it several times and keep it friendly but succinct. What makes you different? What makes you tick professionally?
Professional appearance.
A picture of you at a backyard barbeque as your profile picture tells the world you are not very serious. Go professional. Spend 100 bucks and get someone to take a good shot of you in appropriate clothing for your profession. Remember, since your target is people who don’t know you, most home snapshots just are not of high enough quality. Leave that stuff for facebook, where friends want to catch up.
Final thought – if you provide a service, or consult, or are a contractor of any sort, be clear that those in the profession of finding people are likely who will view you. Write to them directly. Be clear and interesting and use the right keywords to be found in their searches.
Make your profile speak to the audience. Being connected is important for the network, but your profile and what you say is what distinguishes you from the others and becomes your personal brand so take it seriously.

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