The internet has changed the way people interact, do business, and remain relevant. That’s why building a brand is no longer only about establishing companies and cultivating their reputations. Now, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and just about anyone with a career (or trying to build one) benefit from having a personal brand.
When you’re ready to consider whether you should put some time and effort into developing your own personal brand, think about the benefits that come with building a striking presence both off and online.
Ask yourself: Do you want to stand out from the crowd?If you’ve Googled yourself and weren’t too happy with what you saw, remember that it does take some time to set your work apart from others. What are you doing to demonstrate your knowledge? Could you be helping more people if they knew about your skills?
Last but not least, do your name and presence online inspire trust?
If the answers you get aren’t exactly what you wished for and you can no longer imagine your professional future without benefiting from a strong personal brand, it’s time to get to work.
To better understand what is needed to manage your personal brand in today’s world, take a look at the five key elements successful businessmen and women never forget to implement when establishing their personal brands.
1. Invest in Your Image
If you’ve Googled yourself and weren’t too happy with what you saw, remember that it does take some time to set your work apart from others.
First and foremost, remember that while building a personal brand isn’t too different from developing a business brand, self-marketing our skills isn’t always as easy as it may sound. It takes some courage to take a critical look at ourselves and identify what could be better. Similarly, it takes courage to identify our strengths and take advantage of them.
To start, go with the basics.
For a personal brand that will leave a good first impression, consider investing in professional headshots.
Work with a photographer who has some experience clicking professionals. If needed, do your homework until you find the right fit.
When it comes to your personal image online, a photo that brings out your best qualities without painting an unrealistic picture of your personality will go a long way. Once you have that in your hands, it is time to work on everything else.
2. Create a Website That Matches Your Social Media Personality
Creating your professional pages on social media will give your name much-needed exposure. Needless to say, you must stay consistent with your image and message, focusing on your line of work when sharing commentary and avoiding sharing personal anecdotes that could stain your professional standing. But before you start building your professional pages on social media, make sure you have a solid website to link back to.
After scouring the internet for good hosting deals, get your name and image a webpage that works and that will showcase your talents.
Even if you have no basic coding knowledge, there are plenty of tools online that can help you and give you a step-by-step guide on how to set up your own website in minutes. Without any paid help, you can go from siteless to pro, opening a whole space online where you can advertise your portfolio and fill it with your own content, producing keyword-rich text for your website that will help Google and other tools spot you.
Once that is done, you can begin to create your pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
If you already have pages on these websites, update them with your newest photo, polish their content to mirror your improved image, and remove any information that is irrelevant to your craft.
Even if you are young and feel like you don’t have enough experience to fill up your LinkedIn profile with impressive details, there are plenty of steps you can take to make your profile more appealing to a prospective client or employer.
3. Don’t Neglect the Old-Fashioned Resume
After spending the necessary time updating your pages online, do not take any further steps without updating your resume and working on your business cards.
An updated resume without fluff is exactly what you need to go the extra mile. After all, what difference does it make to have a striking presence online but nothing to show for it when a recruiter calls?
For a resume that will stand out, clear any old positions or skills that do not match the industry or career you’re building.
Freshen up the text by using keywords that match your professional aspirations. Update the format, going for a cleaner and lighter layout.
Most importantly, create your resume with your final goal in mind.
When you allow your career objectives to guide your actions, your resume will take shape quickly.
4. Control Your Online Presence
In an age when everything we do gets registered online, it’s difficult (and sometimes impossible) to hide anything from potential clients or employers.
When you take control of your brand online, making your pages reflect what you’re all about and how you can add value to whatever enterprise you attach yourself to, you control the results that appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs), helping those who are looking for professional help find you with ease. When you don’t take control of your brand online, however, things can get tricky.
In order to keep the prize in mind, remember that someone will always be searching your name. If employers or clients want to find the best in the field, they will want ultimate proof, and that’s why a strong online presence makes a difference.
5. Connect, Connect, Connect
By now, you should understand that creating a striking presence online alone won’t get you anywhere.
In order for your brand to work for you, you must put yourself out there, creating opportunities by connecting with relevant professionals both online and in person. To make that happen, be present at industry events and keep your mind (and ears) open.
If you are naturally shy and feel that connecting with others isn’t your forte, read this handy guide to get the awkwardness out of networking—you will thank me later.