Personal Branding 101

12 May

Excerpt (with some additions) from Dan Schawbel’s
Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Brand”

1. Business card: It doesn’t matter if you’re a college student, CEO, or a consultant, everyone should have their own business card. The card should contain your picture, your personal brand statement (such as Boston Financial Expert), as well as your *preferred* contact information and corporate logo if necessary.

You can create your own business card and share it through your mobile phone using www.cardcloud.com.

2. Resume/cover letter/references document: These are typical documents that you need for applying for jobs and when you go on interviews (something over 2 million job seekers will be doing as we speak). Be sure to prioritize each document with information custom to the target position. Take your resume online and add social features to it to make the ultimate social media resume, promoting your personal brand to the world and making it shareable.

3. Portfolio: Whether you use a CD, web or print portfolio, it’s a great way to showcase the work you’ve done in the past, which can convince someone of your ability to accomplish the same results for the future. Figdig.com and carbonmade.com are social networks for people who want to show off their creative skills to the world.

4. Blog/website: You need to own yourname.com or a website that aligns with your name in some fashion. Depending on who you are, how much time you have on your hands and if you can accept criticism, you should either start a blog or stick with a static homepage. Those who blog will have a stronger asset than those who don’t because blogs rank higher in search engines and lend more to your expertise and interest areas over time. WordPress.com is the premier free blogging platform while WordPress.org, which is also free, affords additional flexibility. Websites such as About.Me and Flavors.me are created for personal branding, and allow you to apply them to a custom domain name.

5. LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn profile is a combination of a resume, cover letter, references document and a moving and living database of your network. Use it to create your own personal advertising, to search for jobs or meet new people.

6. Facebook profile: Over 160 million people have profiles, but almost none of them have branded themselves properly using this medium. Be sure to include a Facebook picture of just you, without any obscene gestures. Also, input your work experience and fill out your profile, while turning on the privacy options that disable the ability for people to tag you in pictures and videos (allowing people to see the ones tagged of you).

7. Twitter profile: Your Twitter profile should have an avatar that is carved out of your Facebook picture and used in your LinkedIn profile. You need to use a distinct background, fill out your profile and include a link to either your blog or LinkedIn profile. Twitbacks.com is a solution that  lets you promote your Twitter profile. 

8. Video resume: A video resume is a short video of you talking about why you are the best for a specific job opportunity. You get about a minute or so to communicate your brand and are able to send the link, once you upload it to YouTube, to hiring managers. **It’s 2011. So if you’re looking to do one of these, make sure you shoot it in HD. 

9. Wardrobe: Your personal style is tangible and is extremely important for standing out from the crowd. Select clothing that best represents you because it will be viewable through your pictures/avatars online, as well as when you meet people in reality.

10. Email address: Don’t overlook your email address as not being a significant part of your toolkit. Most people use email over all social networks and when you connect with someone on a social network, you are notified via email, so get used to it. Your email address poses a great opportunity for your brand. I recommend using Gmail because of the acceptance of Google and since GTalk allows you to form tighter relationships with others. For your address, use “firstname.lastname@gmail.com.”

**11. Professional photos: This should almost go without saying. Have professional quality photos taken for your personal brand. It is worth your money and time to invest in 3-5 professional quality photos. Even if you can’t afford to pay someone for photography, it seems as if everyone is a photographer these days. I’m 100% sure that you know someone who owns a DSLR camera. Get a friend to snap a couple of photos for you, so that your photo doesn’t undo all of the work that you put into your other branding avenues.

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3 Responses to “Personal Branding 101”

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