10 Ways To Improve Your Personal Brand - InformationWeek
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12/9/2014
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10 Ways To Improve Your Personal Brand

Want to boost your career credibility? Consider this expert advice on strengthening a personal brand.
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(Image: Pixabay)

What is your personal brand? Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos once said, "Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room." Of course, you'll never be able to control what people say about you behind your back, but there are steps you can take, mostly online, that can enhance their perception of your professional skills.

Unlike a large enterprise, most of us lack a marketing budget to persuade colleagues, clients, and customers to see us as we want to be seen. Networking coach David Fisher, writing on the topic of personal branding for the Business 2 Community blog, opines that most of us are "on the quiet side" when it comes to trumpeting our successes and talents, a too-humble trait that makes personal branding a bit of a challenge. The good news: You can share your career victories without sounding obnoxious. We've put together 10 brand-building tips that won't make you look insufferably boastful to others. Even better, they won't cost a lot of money -- although some will take a lot of time -- to implement.

Where to start? Well, scrutinize your LinkedIn profile: Clarify your goals, add achievements, and fill in any gaps in your employment timeline. You might also want to follow LinkedIn's 12-week plan for improving your personal brand, such as creating goals for the number of profile views and connection requests you receive on the business-oriented social network.

You may be wondering: Why should I bother with any of this? Because it's a great way to advance your career and develop leadership skills. In a 2013 blog post, Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis wrote that managing your personal brand isn't the same as self-promotion. Rather, it's about showing others that you're an admirable role model and mentor, as well as a trusted voice in your profession. "View your personal brand as a trademark, an asset that you must protect while continuously molding and shaping it," he wrote.

You'll need to establish goals for your brand-building mission. LinkedIn recommends setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based objectives. This involves jotting down detailed and realistic goals, following through with your plans, and measuring the results of your efforts. For instance, rather than setting a vague objective such as, "I will be recognized as a leader in my field," it's smarter to create a specific goal such as, "I will speak at three or more industry conferences in the next 12 months."

What does your personal brand say about you?

Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek. View Full Bio

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JohnnyS762
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JohnnyS762,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/23/2015 | 4:31:08 PM
Social Media
I like what you mentioned about improving your social media presence. Its obvioulsy not the easiest thing to just write a book. Even if I was writing a book, it takes time, and this is someting that I could do while in the writing process. All the suggestions you gave have all been very helpful. Thank you for a great post.
bizdoc
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bizdoc,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/11/2014 | 11:10:48 AM
Re: Personal Branding
Good advice, and anyone interested in developing their own personal brand should get: Personal Brand Planning for life, available on Amazon.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2014 | 4:07:13 PM
Re: 10 Ways To Improve Your Personal Brand
I'm actually really impressed with this list, and I went and tried some of these right away. It would be very easy to stuff a list like this full of vague concepts and buzzwords without giving specific tips or additional reading, but most of these feel very well thought-out and practical. It doesn't read quite like a step-by-step list. Rather, thanks to the inclusion of more uncommon ideas such as writing a book, it reads like a cohesive tapestry of what a personal brand could and should look like if put the proper time into it over the course of your career (like watering a plant). In other words, it's also a convincing argument for someone who still might think 'personal brand' is just a buzzword. Nice job, Jeff!

The twitter guide is extremely practical and something you can do right away (it worked for me, by the way), while something like the rebranding guide is more situational and something you'll do over time. These two ideas aren't conflicint, but rather, they compliment each other well. In Li Tan's example, his friend got a leg up both because he reached out to someone he had a real (key word: real) relationship with (Li) and because his LinkedIn profile looked good and not thrown together as an afterthought. It's almost like two-factor authentication - you need to combine a general concept (your brand) with a specific action(s) to get a good result. It may sound like a lot of work, but I think this is a great template for the professional world moving forward and a nice step up from static resumes.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
12/9/2014 | 12:53:14 PM
Social -- the face to face kind
I wonder if there's also a role for increasing your involvement in outside-of-work, community organizations about which you're passionate. And you get a pay off in personal satisfaction even if it does nothing for your brand.  
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2014 | 12:44:36 PM
Re: Social era
Glad your classmate could get in touch with you. 

With services like LinkedIn and other networking/social media services, I'm networked to more people than I really know. Good? Bad? Of all my contacts on these services, I've never met 75% of them -- or more. And phoning them is not possible since I don't have their phone numbers and they don't know me anyway.

I suspect this is true of most people. It's hard for your personal brand to reflect the idea that we are networked to more people now than ever before, but we really don't know them.
Soozy G. Miller
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Soozy G. Miller,
User Rank: Strategist
12/9/2014 | 9:42:06 AM
Feedback
Of the list, I find that feedback is the most tedious. Not because I can't get it--I get positive feedback all the time. And I solicit more. I find it tedious because there are so many places I'm connected--LinkedIn, Skillpages, Klout, PeoplePerHour, etc--I don't know where to put the quotes. And I can't enter them...for most of the sites the person has to specifically go in and fill out each form. So I just keep the feedback on the feedback page of my website.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
12/9/2014 | 9:28:55 AM
Connect people
Can you connect like-minded people in your community of expertise via Twitter? That is another way to build your brand -- and your network.
Soozy G. Miller
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Soozy G. Miller,
User Rank: Strategist
12/9/2014 | 9:18:43 AM
Above the L
I like the figure of the woman standing atop the letter L in the graphic. I'd like to be her the next time I go into an interview.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2014 | 9:03:43 AM
Social era
This is the social era and it's important to have your brand built. Just few days  ago one of my previous university classmates phoned me and asked about one job opening my company posted on LinkedIn - we have not been in touch for more  than 12 years! I checked his LinkedIn profile and he has a well-formed profile page.:-)
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