You wake up every day, hopefully take a shower, and then head into your closet to select your uniform. Do you select pants that are two inches too short? NO, unless of course you are dressing up as a Sleep Geek for Halloween. Do you pick a shirt with a large coffee stain on the front? Do you put on shoes that are dirty and unpolished?
Why do you take such great care when getting dressed? Because you want to project a certain image to those around you. Everything you wear, the car you drive, the friends you keep, the house you live in and even the church you go to – or don’t go to – says a lot about who you are. They make up your personal brand.
When I speak at colleges, professors always want me to talk to their students about the social media landscape and help them understand that everything they do online could come back to bite them in the butt. If you are in the professional world, I would tell you the same applies, but in this case, it could impact your current/future job and your income.
For instance, I have friends on LinkedIn who have old photos, and outdated summaries and work histories on their page. I understand they are not looking for a job, but does that matter? What if their customers come across them and see something they don’t like? What if a company was looking for someone like YOU because they wanted to hand over a new job paying $1 million a year, they landed on your profile, and quickly exited because they were underwhelmed? Okay, maybe this example is a bit extreme, but you get the point.
It’s not just your profile that matters. I would also suggest that you consider getting involved in a few groups. If you are not already a member, go out and join Mattress Industry Executives on LinkedIn and contribute to the conversation. There are other groups that are focused on the mattress industry, so just pick one. Consider joining a group focused on YOUR discipline such as sales, marketing, operations, accounting, HR, etc. There is a lot to learn and you can start to build a personal brand that says you are engaged. You don’t have to go on there and write novels about your opinion. Just sit back, listen, and contribute when you have something helpful to add. Give to the community when you can, and let people know you are there to add value. If something bad does happen to your job, wouldn’t it be great if someone from a LinkedIn group you are part of scooped you up because they were connected to you and liked who you were and what you contributed? How about picking up a customer because you were present when they mentioned a need that you could fill? I have seen it a dozen times!
Here’s the thing: if you sit back and ignore your personal brand online, it is going to be too late when you actually need it. Building your brand takes time. Companies and headhunters are constantly scanning social platforms like LinkedIn for other like-minded people. If they find you and you’re wearing short pants and a stained shirt, you’re dead in the water.
Are you focused on your personal brand? What is the evidence of that? Share it with me in the comments!