Branding Yourself for Personal and Professional Success

A long-time passion of mine has been helping young professionals in the nonprofit sector develop the "soft" skills that you need to move ahead in your career. My most recent project is a series of professional development guides for do gooders, that has been taking off. I'll occasionally post excerpts from the guides on the blog and I'd love to hear if you have any suggestions for future guide topics. From my branding guide:

Just as certain thoughts pop into people’s heads when they think of “iPod” (1,000 songs in your pocket) Or “Subway” (Eat Fresh), when people thing of you, as a professional, they should think of your “Brand.” Can you brand a person? Of course! What do you think of when you think of Michael Jordan? Great basketball player, good jump shot, shoes, etc. What do you think comes to mind when people think about you? If you don’t know, it is time to find out.

The Google Factor

These days before anyone meets anyone, they run straight to Google to check out their web presence. Managing your presence on the web is one of the most important ways to manage your brand. To begin managing your web presence, Google yourself. For a good start on your internet image, look for the following clues:

  • You should appear somewhere on the first page of results.
  • Posts that mention you should be related to professional work, and not embarrassing photos from college parties.
  • Topics that should appear in search results include articles written, previous media interviews, references to jobs and internships, and professional networking affiliations. Remove content that is unrelated to work if you can. If removal is contingent on help from others, respectfully request that they remove content. Also, to push less relevant content below the first page, create newer, more relevant content and focus on moving it up in search results by back links and references from others.

You might be surprised what you will find, and your search-engine entries will change over time as people pick up and post work you may have done years ago, or never take down old web pages.

The full guide can be found here.