You may not realize it, but you represent a brand. Your personal brand is the characteristics, attributes and skills that distinguish you from anyone else. What word or phrase comes to mind when people think of you? Are you know as the “whiner” or as “the person who gets things done around here”?
You are in charge of marketing and developing your brand, and when it comes to doing so, it is in the details. Your resume and interview can reinforce your key message about your qualifications, but only the slightest mistake can jeopardize or negate it. View the list below to avoid these risks.
- Your Email Address – From the time they first communicate with you, employers are learning about who you are. If you like the Minnesota Vikings or Angry Birds, omit it from your email address. They do not and will not contact email@example.com. Use your name in your email address to keep it professional.
- Your Voice-mail – Employers do not want to enjoy the music while their party is reached. They also have a low tolerance for cute messages. Organizations will need you to conduct official business over the phone in nearly any position, so your voice-mail provides a work sample for them.
- Your Writing – Everything you submit is a writing sample. Proof your resume and cover letter carefully to avoid grammatical errors. Generally error on the side of being too formal and avoid the causal abbreviations you use in text messages.
- Professional Attire – From your shoes to your neck line, employers want someone who can represent the organization. If you have not done so already, invest in a professional suit. Keep it simple. Avoid flashy ties, jewelry or make-up. Learn more about wardrobe essentials and mistakes.
- Language – Observe yourself to identify fillers such as “like,” “you know” or “yeah” that may annoy your listeners. An occasional “uhm” is common, but over time you should work on speaking more fluidly.
- Your Facebook Page – Whether you like it or not, employers are Googling your name and searching for you in Facebook. Do yourself a favor and review your privacy settings. You ultimately will serve as an ambassador of their organization. If you would not frame a photo and place it on your desk at work, do not make it public on Facebook.
- Grade Point Average – In the 2011 Job Outlook Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, three out of four respondents stated that they screen candidates by their GPA. It not only demonstrates your competency, but also communicates something about your standards for excellence, discipline and work ethic.
- Etiquette – Many interviews will involve lunch or dinner. Be mindful of your manners. Even if you skate through without being under the microscope during the interview, you will still have other opportunities to demonstrate your professionalism once you are hired during holiday parties, lunch outings and other social gatherings.
- Background – Extensive background checks are becoming more commonplace during the job search process. This may include your university judicial file, credit report, driving record, felonies or misdemeanors. Make good decisions now to avoid jeopardizing your future.
- Your Behavior on the Job – Once you secure a position, the branding continues. In fact, your brand is always evolving. For example, you may have said during the interview that you are collaborative, but your actions will speak for themselves. Do you solicit the input of others when making decisions and share information with your colleagues or are you territorial? How do you resolve conflict? Monitoring these perceptions throughout your professional journey will ensure that your behavior aligns with your values, helping you advance professionally and succeed on the job.
What other techniques do you use to manage and build your personal brand? Post your thoughts below.