We all know that, sometimes, we get in our own way. Some of the most difficult obstacles we have to overcome to reach success are the ones we built for ourselves. Developing a personal brand can be an effective means to furthering a career and building a positive professional reputation. It requires learning a little more about social media and promoting ourselves throughout our career, and doing it consistently. Doing something new can be intimidating, and we often avoid new things or create reasons we should avoid making the effort. Here is a simple list of 5 roadblocks to effective personal branding that many of us may have created for ourselves:
- I’m a private person. That’s just fine, but what does that have to do with personal branding? Having an online presence isn’t about displaying your feelings or family all over the internet. In fact, that level of exposure can be detrimental. Effective social media use is as simple as choosing two platforms (LinkedIn and Twitter, for example) and posting useful information on industry issues, relevant articles to your profession, and simple announcements of your successes.
- The people who matter, know me. Great! It’s important that current movers and shakers know your name. Now make sure that the up-and-coming crowd knows you, and that everyone values you, too. Be willing to mentor younger colleagues. When you network, offer solutions and advice: Become not just known, but known as a valuable resource. It’s not just kindness, it’s smart business. If you’ve told someone about an upcoming job opening, who will they think of when rumours fly about that board position opening at their organization? When you help others, the effort is reciprocated!
- I checked, I’m fine. That’s great! You googled yourself sixteen different ways and there’s no online dirt to besmirch your reputation. What DID you see? Your company headshot and a job title from your last few jobs. How does that promote you as being the perfect candidate for your dream job? Your personal brand should lead hiring influencers to believe that you offer more value, more experience, and more leadership talent than any other candidate they’ve seen. Get involved with industry organizations. Network consistently, even create networking opportunities for your industry. Give a talk at the next conference. Participate openly in the betterment of your profession. Don’t just make the effort to be free of dirt: Stand up and shine. If you don’t show your industry and hiring influencers how valuable you are, who will?
- It’s too late. Are you already branded as a terrific oral surgeon and now you want to begin to sell your sculpture? Do you just feel too old and tired to jump into the online age? Not sure it’s worth the effort because your career has stalled for so long? You couldn’t be more wrong. Build on the success and career you have and start changing or building your brand. Mention your success as an oral surgeon, and turn it into a story of a blossoming second career. Revitalize yourself and your career by promoting your talents and successes to prepare to move into your personal “what’s next” with energy and confidence. It’s never too late to take action to manage your career!
- I’m too busy. Congratulations on your success! It’s great that you’ve reached a professional level that challenges and fulfills you. You know from prior experience that you will either outgrow your current position or your needs and goals will change. Prepare for that day, and make it easier to move up or move on! Even if you don’t have time to promote your brand yourself, you can certainly spend a weekend designing your brand on social media and set out plans and expectations for a virtual assistant or other online professional to create and polish your personal brand to your specifications. Then, simply schedule a few minutes here and there to check in with that person and forward articles, information, photos, and your achievements for them to promote online. Don’t keep that expertise, knowledge, and your connections under the radar, promote it and yourself! A small investment of time and money can pay off down the career path.