Career Development Your Brand

If You Build It, They Will Come

We all remember this famous movie line but perhaps more memorable are the questions it made us all ask – build what and who will come?!  As often as career professionals talk about the importance of personal branding, it seems as if the majority of the general public is not familiar with this concept or why it matters so much.  My definition of personal branding is the strategic process of distinguishing one’s self from others by building value.  What is a brand if it does not communicate value, or even better, a feeling…hopefully a positive one?  What do you think of when you hear Starbucks, McDonald’s, Toyota, Target, Nokia, or Johnson & Johnson?  Now that you’ve thought about that for a second, what do you think people think of when they hear your name?  If you have never considered yourself a brand, start considering.

The 2010 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey says that 80% of employers review social profiles of candidates and 83% will recruit in social networks, of which, 78% will use LinkedIn.  With more people communicating via social media than email these days, Youtube being the 2nd largest search engine next to Google, and Facebook having over 500 Million active users, social media has changed everything, including the job and candidate search process.  Candidates need to be aware that their digital footprint will replace (if it hasn’t already) the resume as an employer’s first and strongest impression of them.  What comes up when you Google your name?

If you don’t like what an employer may see, it’s time to take control of your online reputation.  If nothing comes up in a Google search, don’t be too happy – this just means you leave no impression.  I guess no impression is better than a bad one, but if you thought you could ignore social media, you can’t.  Moreover, you shouldn’t ignore social media if you want to build a career.  Social media has given candidates the ability to build a personal brand that communicates value to employers, if they use it strategically.  If you build a brand that has value, opportunity will come.  Many people have gotten jobs through social media and others have been invited to conferences, speaking engagements, and have had consulting offers.  How do you start building your brand?

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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