How do others perceive me?

Sometimes we choose one brand over another because of the way it makes us feel. It can be an emotional process. Think of a brand you are loyal to and the reasons why. Is it that you trust the brand? Is it reliable? Does it represent quality? In personal branding the way others may feel about us may have an impact of how successful we are and how strong our personal brand is. In face-to-face interactions, individuals selectively edit the how they appear to others but in the online digital world, “this process is on steroids” (Sheth and Solomon, 2014). Therefore, our online presence is vital to our career success.

How can I create or improve my online presence?

You don’t exist if Google doesn’t know you. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Unless you’re already successful and have achieved your goals, you need to have a substantial online presence. And it must be maintained. A disregarded LinkedIn site or website may impact negatively on your personal brand. Your online presence is an important factor in personal branding. Let me ask, have “Googled” yourself lately? Do you appear? Could you be higher on the list? Do you have the right things on display? What does your on-line image say about your personal brand? A recent Forbes article pointed out that employers and recruiters are looking to social networks as a way of learning about current and potential employees. LinkedIn is the most popular for recruiters along with Twitter. Not having an account can be a concern to some recruiters because they may think you have something to hide.

Which social media platforms are best for me?

LinkedIn is the most significant professional online network, yet most people only scratch the surface of what it can do for a personal brand. An impressive profile requires regular posting and sharing of content that informs and educates. It is more than simply uploading your resume. First impressions count so make sure you have a good quality profile photo and ideally share it across all other platforms to help build a consistent personal brand image. Take note, never use a photo that has another person edited out but still has their arm around you and definitely don’t’ use a photo with a drink in your hand. People get suspicious of those who don’t include a photo, so this is not an option.

Facebook. If you’re in business you need a Facebook business page, but if someone else employs you should set your Facebook to private. Even when it’s private, other people’s pages may not be, and you may be tagged in a photo. Be conscious at all times that your image may end up online. The lines between professional and private are now blurred.  It is not uncommon for people to be friends on FB with their colleagues or even their boss so be careful what you post. Our private life can impact our professional life.  Your online identity should be constructed in a way that gives you a professional personal brand.

Natalie McKenna

Natalie McKenna

Academic & Communications Strategist

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