In this post, we’ll discuss the link that exits between your online identity and your personal brand, especially as it pertains to your career. But first, a word about your “personal brand” vs. your “professional brand.”
While it might seem as though these two are different, they aren’t. Simply put, your professional brand is part of your personal brand—it exists within it. This mirrors real life, since your job or what you do for a living is only part of who you are.
That being said, when a company officially “Googles” you for information, what they find is going to place a brand on you in their minds—both personally and professionally. They’re going to form an idea about what kind of person you are, what you like, what you dislike, what’s important to you, what’s not important to you, etc.
And they’re going to form these ideas and brand you in their minds without even speaking with you or meeting you.
Consequently, it would be a good idea to construct your online identity with two goals in mind:
- Making sure that your online identity matches your real-world identity as closely a possible.
- Making sure that your online identity brands you as positively as possible.
So—what should you do? Pretend that you’re a company official or hiring manager. “Google” yourself and see what search results are returned. Then write down what those results say to you about the person you’re researching (if that person wasn’t you, of course).
Then ask yourself these questions:
- What was your first impression of this person?
- Has this person branded themselves in a positive fashion—or a negative one?
- Would you want to hire this person?
- What questions would you have for this person, if any?
Based on your answers to these questions, what changes should you make to your online identity? Should you add information? Should you delete information (and maybe some pictures)?
Chances are good that changes of some kind need to be made, and you should make those changes as soon as you possibly can—for the sake of your online identity, your personal (and professional) brand, and your career.
Daniel C. Simmons is a Certified Personnel Consultant who has been recruiting since 1991. Dan has won over twenty awards in the last decade with the Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network including Placer of the Year in 2009 & 2010.
Frequently Dan also is a recruiter trainer and has been featured at various Top Echelon Conventions and online as a speaker for various webinars. He has also been published in The Fordyce Letter the recruiting industry’s #1 magazine.
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