To see how others see you today, check your brand. As a first step Google your name (the vast majority of all searches are). What shows up in the first several pages of search results is often how your brand is currently portrayed on the Internet. Good, bad or not at all is the reality of how you are seen by others.
Assess what your current brand is telling others about you already. Are you indexed? Can we find you? How are you associated? Is your online reputation positive? Is your brand healthy, up to date and relevant? Are you connected and networked?
You have control of your brand and you must work to control its online presence. Take precautions to keep sensitive information, data and visuals to be seen only by those requiring it online. Ensure that appropriate personal information can only be seen by those who you want to see it. Consider if what you are portraying gives a potential employer or colleague reason to doubt your professional portrayal.
Define Your Brand
Now that you know how your brand is portrayed online, determine how you want it to be seen by others. Define yourself; your brand. What are your key attributes and characteristics? What are your areas of greatest knowledge and expertise? What sets you apart from others? What do you do exceptionally well? What are your strengths and core skill sets? What are your greatest achievements? You provide a unique value that sets you apart from all others. So tell your story.
Building an Online Brand
In the online world, perception is reality. How others see you based on Internet information is often who they believe you are; so your “image” or “brand” is theirs, and now your, reality.
That new reality also requires that you must now have an online presence. It’s expected in our information driven society. Even if you aren’t of the mind to adopt online branding, others are already looking online to learn about and define you.
Your personal brand is what employers, professional colleagues, acquaintances, and your network see. Just as businesses carefully craft and manage their brands, so must you if you wish to grow your career in this digital and information age. Establishing your brand online enables you to differentiate yourself from others – your competition.
Beyond reputation management considerations, statistics show that 90 percent of recruiters and human resources professionals recruiting use Google, Internet search and other social and professional networking sites to learn more about or make decisions on candidates. According to a Business Week survey, 35 percent of surveyed employers actually admitted to eliminating a candidate based on information gained from online.
What types of things did they indicate they were looking for?
1) To see if the candidate presents himself/herself professionally. 2) To see if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture. 3) To learn more about the candidates’ qualifications. 4) To see if the candidate is well-rounded. 5) To look for reasons to potentially not hire a candidate.
Therefore, it’s critically important to protect your brand and to control what you project online.