How important is a personal brand?


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Each morning, we start off our day scrolling through social media and our favorite apps on our phones. A habit each of us has grown accustomed to, much like brushing our teeth. Who said what to whom? What happened at VA today? What hospital closed? What is the latest news?

We all take part – it is at this point that we start to build our personal brands. Without pause, we go straight to the notifications, because who doesn’t like to be followed or have their posts liked, right? We pride ourselves on our wit that was retweeted from last night and how many likes we got on our comment to the controversial topic of the day. We avoid our employer’s site altogether, because we don’t want them to know how we really feel, so we visit competitors’ or government sites.

Within a few months, anyone can look through a person’s timeline or tweets and get a general idea of what inspires this individual. What they look like, who their friends are, where they hangout and their attitude. Does this person work collaboratively in a team and inspire people? Or do they complain often and at times are abusive to others? It is amazing how social media can connect us to old high school pals, military colleagues, college friends, and past coworkers and learn what they have been up to over the past several years. Who they married or divorced, what their political views are, did they have kids, animals, as well as their personal habits.

At some point we may consider seeking other employment. We brush off our resumes, head over to LinkedIn and update our profiles to start our journey. If you notice that LinkedIn is not a big help and no one is connecting with you, it is likely because your profile has not been active for some time. We surely know better than to get personal on LinkedIn. Some will quickly get a new position and life goes on, especially those that are in high demand positions. But those of us that fall into the other 90% are surprised when no one is calling us back.

Eventually, we review our “personal brand” that we have spent years building. We are all people and as a result, we have input, one of which is on employment. Today, most recruiters I know routinely visit prospective employees’ social media profiles to identify the “right person” for the job at the “right company”. Any questions an employer may have that are not included in a candidate’s resume, can often be found online. So we Google our name and see what we find. For most newcomers to the job market, there are scarce results (e.g., if you are a first year accountant with no publications this makes sense). However, if you are a star marketer with no presence online, that is likely a problem. Many recruiters also scout Twitter to take a look at a candidate’s following – 500+, 5000+, 8 followers, tells a story in itself. What’s the tone?

What does your “personal brand” say to others about you?

Look out for my next post where I will discuss building a personal brand that sells you!

Author

VA Careers