Whether you realize it or not, everyone has a personal brand. The ubiquity of social media today makes it relatively impossible to fly under the radar. The question is whether or not you take the time to actively cultivate and shape your personal brand and persona. If your online presence is entirely social, you probably don’t need to spend quite as much time or effort into shaping it. However, if your job or industry relies heavily on an active online persona, you’ll want to take the time to deliberately cultivate a strong personal brand.
To start crafting your personal brand, begin by simply Googling yourself. Regularly run these searches or better yet, set up a Google alert to notify you anytime you have a new online hit. Maintaining a personal website is another great way to ensure you are in control of the message when someone else searches for you. Your website doesn’t need to be fancy or robust, but should include links to your social media outlets, a copy of your resume, a sampling of your portfolio or work (as applies to your industry) and a professional headshot.
Create and share meaningful content. Articles, tweets, or anything else you might share online is a great way to stay relevant and build your brand. However, don’t tweet just to tweet. It is tempting to just continually publish to stay at the top of someone’s feed or mind, but it is important that your content has substance and be worthwhile. If you don’t have anything of your own to share, consider highlighting another source’s article or post as a way to stay active without diluting your credibility.
Most importantly though, be authentic. People are drawn to others that the feel they can relate to and more so, that they can trust. Before you launch a “personal brand campaign” be sure that you understand your objectives and reasons for doing so. Take time to research the online presence of your industry peers and try to network to learn what has worked (and hasn’t) for them—your online self will thank you for it!
Are you an alum or current graduate student? If you are interested in learning more about how to create and maintain your personal brand, join the Alumni Professional Development Series on Tuesday, June 20 from 6:30-8:00 pm for their Personal Branding event. For more information and to register, please click here.