Our careers depend on the perceptions of others: bosses, coworkers, and customers. By observing us, they determine whether or not we’re:
- competent and trustworthy
- cooperative and approachable
- committed and reliable
The way we come across impacts whether or not we get:
- hired or promoted
- positive ratings and good raises
- heard and reinforced
- chosen for plush assignments
Because your personal brand identity is a priceless asset, you need to manage it with care.
Your brand tattoo
Everything we say and do that others hear and see builds our personal brand. It’s how we manufacture public perceptions.
Social media is the ink that makes your image visible and lasting, creating waves of exposure for endless audiences.
Whether we do it consciously or not, every word and picture that we post online is our effort to present the image we want others to accept. It’s how we turn ourselves into a product that we promote.
If you want to be taken seriously in your career, you need a serious brand image. When your social brand conflicts with your professional one, you may end up with a lot of explaining to do.
Social media is a strategic branding platform. The evolution of your personal brand on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other sites becomes part of your indelible history.
You may end up having to rebrand yourself (which can be a difficult, time-consuming, and possibly unsuccessful task) when your brand gets tarnished by:
- those beach and bar Facebook pictures that depict an appetite for partying
- harsh tweets that disparage political, business, and entertainment figures
- endless inane and trivial Twitter posts
- self-absorbed blog ramblings that lack substance
The way you present yourself online (either consciously or unconsciously) represents your brand management strategy–the way you want to be regarded by:
- friends and family
- the community and marketplace
- professional associates and employers
It’s incumbent on you to take steps to ensure that the image you put out there is one that you are comfortable exposing to everyone.
Remember: Your life is your business. Everything you put “out there” defines you, validates you, and positions you as either someone who adds value or doesn’t.
Keep in mind too that everything you see and read from someone else is their effort to build their own personal brand. Are you buying what they’re selling?
Your brand image is a major contributing factor to getting a job and keeping it.
Strategic use of social media gives you a career leg up by helping you build positive perceptions among those who can help you achieve success.
Posting information, adding thoughtful comments, and blogging enable you to showcase your knowledge, insights, passions, and communication skills.
There is often real, reportable payback like:
- Visibility that differentiates you from other candidates for a job opening or promotion
- Credibility validation helpful to consultants, therapists, and advisers
- Connections with other thought leaders that can lead to professional collaborations
- Invitations by businesses, other bloggers, and book publicists to partner with them
The key to success in any field is validation for what you know and do–and how you go about it.
If you don’t take yourself seriously and if you don’t exercise care with your personal brand image, then the likelihood of your finding and sustaining a satisfying career is in jeopardy. It’s all in your hands.
Make your mark
Social media self-discipline and self-control are your friends. When you use them to stay focused on the career that you want and resist trying to one-up or entertain your “friends,” you will give your personal brand identity the boost it needs to sustain you through a fulfilling career. I’m pulling for you!
Photo from imatvi via Flickr