What’s your brand?

When searching for a job, many factors contribute to your eligibility as a job candidate. Considering whether or not your past experience, and current qualifications align with the position you’re applying for is crucial – but have you ever stopped to think about your personal brand?

I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by the Boston Business Journal titled, “Online Personal Branding and Strategic Networking for Professionals.” The speakers at the event discussed the benefits of creating and promoting a well-established personal brand. While there were many useful tips and strategies, two overarching ideas arose throughout the presentation:

1. Consistency
2. Your brand = your reputation

While it seems obvious to never post anything offensive or obscene on the internet, we don’t always consider the importance of delivering a consistent message. People typically have different rules for different platforms – some think that while a certain post, picture, or article may be inappropriate for LinkedIn, it is appropriate for Facebook. However creating this kind of disjointed social media presence can harm your personal brand, and potential job search.

One of the speakers at the event, Paula Garcia, Marketing Director, and Social Media Expert, recommends having the same photo, and overall message communicated throughout all online platforms, as it allows people to form an emotional connection to your personal brand. She also defines personal brand as “what people say about you when you leave the room…it is your legacy.” This idea not only stresses the importance of having a consistent personal brand, but also having a personal brand that you can be proud of.

When considering this concept on a larger scale, the benefits of having a strong personal brand are tremendous. Take power players such a Richard Branson, or Sheryl Sandberg. Not only have both of these individuals achieved concrete, measurable success, but they both have popular and meaningful personal brands. If you claim to admire one of these individuals it doesn’t necessarily mean you love flying on Virgin Airlines, or enjoy using Facebook; it implies that you admire being adventurous and unconventionally creative, or that you have a progressive view of the workplace and are an advocate for equality. This is because both Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg have not only been successful in their business endeavors, but that they have developed distinct and identifiable personal brands that people respect.

Taking into account the impact of your personal brand is vital to both your job search and your career. Your personal brand tells the world your story – so cultivate it, strike down the contradictions, and promote what you want your legacy to be.