When I started working, I remember being interviewed by organizations and employers in a certain way; with no work experience, they were not sure what kind of value will I add to their organization and was hired on the basis of my commitment of value, instead of any empirical evidence for my claim. With time, I accumulated experience and achievements, and the process of getting hired became simplified and transparent. It was based on what the employer was looking for versus what I could offer. I had stepped out of the resource-block and was now at the first block in the managerial lane.
Valuable experience earned from managing a variety of projects and people duly promoted me to mid-level management. This was when I realized the need for branding myself; the need for creating a ‘Shaheen Rajan’.
I did what most of the individuals and SMEs do to brand themselves – I turned to social media and blogging to create my own brand in the virtual world.
My personal blog came first, followed by profile on multiple social media channels (including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). But creation was not enough; I had to update them regularly, but I never had enough time for it. I had realized that there are now more ways to promote yourself than ever – and just as many ways to screw it up. Not branding yourself right or over-branding can take your reputation from Ferrari to clunker faster than possible. So before you do anything wrong, stop exactly where you are and plan.
5 Essentials You Cannot Do Without:
HONOR HONESTY: If you inflate your resume in any way, be prepared for it to leave lasting damaging effects on your career. It’s way too easy to check things these days with Google just a click away. A little exaggeration can lead to serious consequences.
NO BOOSTERISM: When you leave a comment or message on a blogpost, make sure you are focused on adding to the conversation. When you sign it, don’t list multiple websites or your slogan and a pile of digital identities. It turns people away.
STAY IN MOMENT: If you are at a corporate event and all you do is edit your YouTube video or Tweet, you are not projecting a positive image. Instead, drink it in. You might get a real live opportunity instead of an online one.
NIX NEGATIVITY: Don’t criticize ideas and people very much. You don’t want to be labeled a negative person. An alternative: Be an expert. Find three or so online communities in your field of interest area and create bonds, share ideas or information, or write reviews.
BE CONSISTENT: If your blog is seldom updated or your image swings from the 1% to 99%, you are hurting yourself. Make sure you are clear on your core beliefs and target audience. Then be systematic, patient and intentional about your brand for staying power.
You know what the deal is with rising stars and newly promoted executives? They develop one success, and instead of growing in into a second or a third, they start selling themselves shamelessly. This blatant act is not only confined to interviews and official meetings but is also extended to the online world through updates and tweets that lack modesty and tact. Remember, your brand is your promise that represents real things that you deliver. You must list your real accomplishments in your resume and have a tasteful combination of style and substance, instead of having former overpower the latter.
LESS IS MORE. It is an old adage but as good and promising as old wine. You don’t have to be everywhere all at once – many conglomerates are yet to embrace twitter, for example. Venture in to an arena, establish yourself and then dedicate your efforts to the next channel. Bonus: you can use your established presence to launch yourself for maximum results.
Other than that, say something only when you have something worth saying. Many people, especially the important ones, are known to turn off all updates from individuals who post at irritating frequency, like every hour! ‘He’s lost his privilege to communicate to me in that way,” say CEO of Vizibility. “You can spend all this time and effort – it does take time – only to turn around and end up alienating people.”
BE THE GO-TO PERSON: One of the best strategies to create your brand is to be the go-to person for something, even if that something is as simple as Microsoft Excel data sheets; offer great advice and free insights when asked. As you help more people, you build word of mouth referral and job security. Your brand becomes ingrained in people’s minds as useful.
GET OUT OF THE CLOSET: No, it’s not about your sexuality; it’s about keeping informed the people who will be affected by your attempts to create your own brand. Your boss will top this list. For starters, ensure that you do it outside work hours and keep your boss in the loop. Any time you are make a public appearance or a statement that might shake a hornet nest.
WHEN TO WORK AND WHEN TO BOAST? So how should you split your time between the actual work you do and making sure others know all about it? Cannon from Mercedes insists that 80/20 split is a good ration, with 80% of your efforts going toward the job and the bonds you build with co-workers and your boss. The remaining 20% goes into sharing your work and ideas and being visible through speeches, articles and blog posts.
You can break down the 20% block further in to 70/30 split; Most of it should be informative, entertaining, or educational, whereas 30% can be straight brand building. Here, it is good to create a conversation: Instead of saying, “Let us create your next website,” post the seven questions one needs to ask before doing so – and then be sure to provide the answers.
BE ON TOP OF COMMUNICATION: Reply to messages and emails you receive for inquiries, comments, appreciation and to state the fact that you are absolutely detestable (or maybe you can leave just this one unanswered). It is not a waste of time and can be your gateway to a goldmine(s).
FOCUS ON CREATING A LIFELONG BRAND RATHER THAN 15 MINUTES OF FAME AND THAT TAKES DISCIPLINE – WHICH IS, AS WE ALL KNOW, A LOT TOUGHER THAN PRESSING THE SEND BUTTON.