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Branding Yourself: Your Professional Image Part 1

In Personal Marketing, Views and Reviews on April 7, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

It is unsurprisingly common to meet a person with multiple titles/designations these days. Among young professionals, diversity is key to move forward in the job market or take a budding business to the next level. I browse through my LinkedIn contacts from 1st to 3rd degrees and any person does not settle on one title alone e.g. Student/Blogger/Youth Revolutionary: Marketing Manager/Yoga Instructor; Entrepreneur/Surfer; Finance Consultant/Life Coach/; each combination seems fascinating and promising.

People of my generation (coined as Gen Y that has received mixed reviews from the Boomers and Gen X), find it necessary to do so. Not because to merely tag themselves as such but because there is a compelling need to become more. Gone are the days that you are banker and you slightly brush on painting as a “hobby”. Young professionals and students nowadays pursue both profession and passion such that these activities get converted into expertise thus, the multiple titles.

I, myself, am currently working on other branches of my abilities so I get to develop myself further. I want to establish myself as a great marketer and brand custodian but I also want to be an entrepreneur. I am glad that this year I have finally become a blogger and a published writer. The thrill of reinventing my portfolio gives me a sense of maximizing time whilst attaining the best possible version of myself. I encountered this captivating spoken poetry by Sarah Kay where she thought when she was a kid that she could be everything in one lifetime but when she discovered that one can live only one life and become very great at something, she pursued her love for literature. Yet in the process of perfecting herself as a poet, she has become an advocate of the arts among young people, a public speaker, etc. I think while becoming relevant and a master at one thing, you develop faculties of multiplicity. And this makes individuals interesting.

Branding yourself is not a superfluous pursuit. “Poser” is the mean term in high school. No, it is about manifesting a discovered self for others to witness and connect with. Being “you” may not be enough these days because you may be embodying the least plausible version of yourself. Excellence is a constant human undertaking. We are meant to be greater than our circumstances whether good or bad. I am not an expert but I aim to extend my knowledge in marketing to the personal aspects of people. Here are some points for consideration if you want to create your “professional” self.

Part 1. The Diagnosis. Review your brand 

Your online self. Open any, if not all, of your online accounts and review them.

A. Is your email address still coooljewel85@xyz.com? I suggest you replace your high school email account with a name that needs to be professionally recognized. John.Doe@xyz.com. Make sure to use credible domains as well and not the questionable ones. You may still keep the old one for personal use and should not be found on your resume’s contact details.

B. Check your Facebook. Is your profile a smorgasbord of events from your wild beach party to your board room presentation and it’s up to your friends and/or colleagues to sort which ones they’re supposed to process or not? Impressions matter and here comes the age that a boss or business partner want to know how your personal inconspicuous behaviors affect your work performance. I have decided that at work, people should know 80-100% of my identity as a worker and not the other way around. This doesn’t mean you have to be uptight but you don’t want to be known as the “party girl” or “wild animal” in the office. Again, my personal opinion. It’s time to create boundaries and sort people according to social groups. In that way, you can compartmentalize aspects of your activities.

C. What do you tweet about? Who do you follow? Twitter has enabled the perpetual need to declare real-time activities and opinions. Unless you are a celebrity, most people don’t care by your mere “ugh”and “this sucks” tweets. Please try to create complete sentences. After all, twitter also challenges you to say much in just 114 characters. I’ve also read that you can establish your expertise by tweeting about things relevant to your profession. You may also follow those relevant to your interests and profession to learn a thing or two.

D.Google yourself, both your full name and nick name. This is the fastest way of looking at your online self. What web contents are associated with you? It will always be Facebook and Twitter (thus, the first points to work on). What next? Click also on the images to see. It might shock you. I admit mine is not that impeccable but not alarming anyway. If you don’t like what you see, you may ask friends to take down unfavorable information about you or you may start counteracting those web content with the next few points:

E. LinkedIn is your professional network. It’s time to be present here to build your connections. Believe me, at some point, you are going to cross paths with someone who will need your help and/or vice versa. Observe how people in your field present themselves on the site and you may refer to them in building yours. Eventually, you’d know how to market yourself. If you already have a LinkedIn account, review your profile. Make sure each field highlights your strengths. It is after all a venue to legitimately showcase yourself. What’s good is that, your profile can be easily transformed into your resume. You may simultaneously update both as you go on.

F. Consider making a professional blog. This can be as simple as chronicling your learning points everyday but be careful of the information you reveal. Please stick to the objective learning and professional realizations. Do not rant about work on your blog. Seriously. You can also talk about your observations in your industry. You are smart enough to have an opinion. If not, you can take great photos and turn them into visual masterpieces.

G.  Join professional forums or subscribe to leadership blogs. Might as well learn from the best and your counterparts. For example, brand managers from the Middle East post about their campaigns and observations and they give me a snapshot of what their market is like. You can think globally by just reading through posts. Moreover, they can serve as sources of great knowledge that you can apply at any project. I like reading Seth Godin and John Maxwell‘s blogs. I also receive daily management tips from Harvard Business Review. Mashable is always entertaining. TED.com never fails to cultivate my mind. There is a plethora of information resources  but do not take in so much as they can be paralyzing.

I guess this is just my take on diagnosing and improving your professional self online. I may have missed something but these are exactly what I did before to utilize the internet wisely. As they say, the discretion is ours and online sites are just the tools to make or break us.

Next topic will be about Diagnosing Your Professional Self Offline.

(C) Copyright. Brands and Pitches 2012

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2 Responses to “Branding Yourself: Your Professional Image Part 1”

  1. Full of good sense.

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