Gone are the days of company lifers, today’s Gen X professionals need to be armed with a digital presence and social networking strategy for personal branding.
When I first entered the workforce in the early 90’s, I worked on what was affectionately referred to as a dumb terminal. Operating that darn thing was like trying to create a memo on an Etch A Sketch! But we definitely made the best of it. Ahh the good old days… before windows, before smartphones, when analog mix tapes still ruled!
Fast forward 20 years and I had become a company lifer. It became time to get out of my career comfort zone, but times had definitely changed. It used to be unheard of to make it publicly known that you were looking for new opportunities, but now it was unheard of not to be on LinkedIn.
I had to figure out how to brand myself in this new digital era, so I set out to do a little soul searching (and a little Google searching too). The following is a list of 7 tips that helped me establish my personal branding strategy to land my current role as a digital marketer with a fortune 500 company.
1. Discover your Mantra – Guy Kawasaki
Mantras are not mission statements. A mantra is a Sanskrit term, meaning sacred utterance. Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki recommends using three words or less, that describe your core values. I adopted one of his most famous ones: Make Meaning. I believe in focusing on making meaning, not money. I ask myself this question on every project that I work on- Am I making something meaningful? At the end of the day, this will not only bring you personal fulfillment, but positive results for your employer.
2. Find your highest Point of Contribution – Greg Mckeown
More often than not, we cannot make a living from our passion, but what if we could apply it to our highest point of contribution? Greg Mckeown, author of The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, explains that we should ask ourselves three questions: “What am I deeply passionate about?” “What taps my talent?” and “What meets a significant need in the world?” When I apply these to my career, my passion is my love of presentations. Whether it’s a corporate summary or pitching a new idea, it’s all about the presentation. This taps into my creative talent and definitely meets a significant need in the corporate world. In fact I would venture to say that you could change the world one presentation at a time.
3. Create your 15 Second Pitch – Laura Allen
The Digital age is all about Micro Moments. Our attention spans are down to just seconds of notifications. Laura Allen, AKA “The Pitch Girl” recommends the following framework for a successful pitch-
Who you are, What you do, Why you’re the best and Your call to action.
4. Audit your online presence – Shama Hyder
CEO of the Marketing Zen Group Shama Hyder, recognizes that you can’t mold perception without first understanding the current status. Begin by Googling yourself and setting up alerts for your name. I would also recommend not defining your online presence by your current title or place of employment. Define yourself by who you are and what you do. For example, I am Digital Marketer regardless of where I am employed.
5. Secure a personal website – Shama Hyder
Today’s Gen X professionals need their own website for personal branding. Shama Hyder writes that having a personal website for yourself is one of the best ways to rank for your name on the search engines. It doesn’t need to be robust. It can be a simple two to three page site with your resume, link to your social platforms, and a brief bio. Setting up my personal website was probably single most important thing I did. There are many tools available now for non-tech savvy folks to get started. I am a fan of WordPress and although you can host a site with them for free, I highly recommend purchasing and hosting your domain name. It’s a very small expense, especially considering you are investing in yourself. Unfortunately my “. com” was taken, but I was able to secure my “.me” which is ideal for a personal website. There are also cool new domain extensions becoming available every day such as “.guru” and “.bio”.
6. Be purposeful in what you share – Shama Hyder
Shama Hyder teaches that every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand. It is an amalgamation of multiple daily actions. Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand. I am most active on LinkedIn and I always follow Shama’s advice when posting. I only share information that is of value to me. It’s definitely ok to have fun, so long as its gives purpose and meaning to your personal brand.
7. Don’t work with jerks – Jennifer Dulski
One of my all time favorite articles by Jennifer Dulski, President and COO of change.org. This is a key lesson Jennifer learned from her father which was – life is too short to spend it working with people you don’t respect or who don’t respect you.
My key takeaway from Jennifer’s article is to remember that we always have a choice and a voice in who we work with. If we are being treated poorly and attempts to resolve the situation don’t improve things, you can always consider moving to another team or even another company.
Anything worth doing requires a commitment and to be successful with your personal branding is no different. I hope these tips help you in your digital journey as they have helped me. Are you an analog brain living in the digital world too? I would love to hear your thoughts.