Understanding your professional reputation is all about relevance.
It is one of those phrases we hear a lot about lately–Personal Brand. If author Malcom Gladwell were to pipe in he would say that we are at the “tipping point” of the process. That means that it is time to stop and really look at the image you are projecting in your career.
Why is our “personal brand” so important now, when it was something only reserved for corporations for the last 100 years?
Your personal brand is your professional reputation. It is all the bridge jobs you took to get somewhere more important. It is the time you were fired, but quickly found a new company more appreciative of your skills. It is the confidence you project when entering the room. It is as simple as your resume and as complicated as your Twitter account. Your personal brand is your public life–and today, everything is public.
Branding somehow got confused with the “me generation.” Personally I believe that every generation is the “me” generation, but in the world of selfies, professionals started to make excuses for not embracing the personal brand.
In 2015, we all have a brand, and it is this “branding” process that directly influences your impact as a contributor, thought leader and business owner.
- It isn’t just what you do, but why you do it.
- It isn’t as simple as having a smile in your profile photo, but what you wear and how you project yourself–virtually and physically.
- It isn’t the tie or the high heel shoes; it is which tie and whether or not those heels are worn down and clicking all the way up to the podium.
- It isn’t just an amazing website, but the content you share on social platforms.
Think about how you look and act, and I mean really sit down, look in a mirror and get to know the person looking back at you. Is that person the one you “think” you are? Or is that person still stumbling around trying to get things right?
Imagine yourself walking into a meeting–how do your colleagues, staff, business partners, managers, or clients perceive you? Late, sloppy, drab, outdated? Or are you edgy, polished and colorful? How people define you, their perception of you matters. Perception is reality. So unless you bring something unique and compelling to the table, you run the risk of being seen as irrelevant, or worse yet, not being seen at all!
And do not underestimate your online profile. We live in a world of information. Every second we experience a virtual treasure trove of facts and images on almost every subject imaginable. So why underestimate the process of collecting information on you?
The biggest mistake you can make is not to have an online presence.
It screams “outdated.”
When Henry Ford brought the automobile to the every-day man, he changed the world. He forced people to change. Some people just pretended to change, but continued to ride their horses into town. But as dirt roads turned into highways, many people were excluded from the world.
You cannot say “I am not techy” or “I respect my privacy” or even “It’s too complicated for me.” These are the words of the man with the horse drawn carriage.
And it doesn’t matter how successful you are, how much money you have and make, or how impressive your title is…You are projecting a Brand of Irrelevance.
So be hip and relevant. Get in the vehicle that expresses who you really are and write out a To Do List:
- What are my real strengths, skills and abilities?
- What is my true passion?
- How do I look in my own mind?
- How do I want to act?
- What does my day look like?
- What is it I want to say?
And then start making that happen every day. Choose one online profile to change alongside one personal habit. Get a real photo on LinkedIn and buy a new suit. You will feel the difference, and your customers will too.
Because who you are, who you project, does matter. Brand YOU isn’t just the catch phrase of personal coaches and style consultants; it is the reality!
You are the product of all the choices you have made in your life up to this point, and if you are still making excuses for not changing and embracing the world we live in today, then realize that this too is a choice. And choosing not to change with the times is just as dangerous as risking something new.
And if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile (or any online profile), well you are not reading this anyway, but I am sure your hipper, more relevant competitor is….
So Start Today. Ask an Expert. Become Relevant.
Maria Bereket is a Social Media and Branding Strategist. Her work with non-profits and early childhood education is going to change the world making it a better place to live. Her personal business mission is to educate every person on the importance and fun of living in a socially connected world. www.designbearmarketing.com @mbear88
#branding #linkedin #relevance