Cole Powers is a student at Hilliard Davidson High School. He has an online blog he started as part of an internship last year. He reached out to Superintendent John Marschhausen for input and advice. After reading this blog, Dr. Marschhausen thought it would be nice to post Cole’s blog as a guest columnist in this week’s Get Connected Blog.
Entrepreneurs across the world work tirelessly day and night to develop a positive brand image for their company; however what most people don’t know is that each and every one of us has our own personal brand. According to Wikipedia, personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. You can maximize the success of your personal brand by focusing on three simple objectives: creating a positive web presence, developing a brand purpose, and improving your networking and communication skills. If you consistently try to improve these three things your personal brand will be far more successful.
Young people today have grown up using technology for most of their lives, yet it is fairly obvious that many do not know how to use it properly when you take a look at social media accounts. Many people underestimate the importance of keeping their social media clean of unwanted posts, when social media is probably one of the first places potential employers will look. It is important for all people who use social media to be conscious of the digital footprint they are creating for themselves. This idea was first introduced to me by Hilliard City Schools Superintendent Dr. John Marschhausen and has been re-emphasized to me many times when I have seen my peers receive discipline from school for things they had posted on social media. I have come up with three rules for keeping a clean digital footprint that have helped me regulate my social media accounts tremendously. Rule number one: don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want to be brought up in a job interview. Rule number two: if you feel like posting something that you know you probably shouldn’t, wait an hour and see if you still think it would be an appropriate post. Finally, rule number three: you should review your social media posts weekly and delete anything that violates rule one or two. If you follow these rules you should have few problems with questionable social media posts. However your online presence goes beyond social media alone, because we are living in the “digital age.” I would highly suggest creating a personal website. There are several free website creation sites where you can make your own personal website. This website acts as an online resume, and it is one more place where potential employers can look to find out more about you. The beauty of creating a website is that you can control what you post and what potential employers will see, thus creating a positive personal brand image. If you begin to clean your digital footprint you might be surprised by some of the phone calls you receive from employers.
The next step to creating a strong personal brand is developing a purpose. Almost every successful company has a strong purpose or driving force behind why they do what they do. For example, Apple is a company that has been dedicated to challenging how everyone else does things. This purpose is one of the many reasons they are a successful company. Developing your purpose can be as simple as writing a personal mission statement. Even with something as simple as this you might be surprised by the sense of direction you begin to feel. Once you have identified a purpose that you are proud of the next step is to let everyone know about it. The purpose of your personal brand should be easily identifiable and should be reflected in your online presence. Your purpose shows everyone who is watching that you are striving for something, or you are on a mission. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. This is why developing a purpose is so crucial to the success of your brand. In order to create a strong personal brand you must spend time developing a purpose and spend even more time practicing what you preach.
The third and final step to developing your personal brand is to improve your networking and communication skills. When you are in an environment where the goal is to meet people it is very important to inform as many people as possible about your purpose. This environment is where social media and personal websites come into play the most. Instead of giving someone only a business card give them access to your online brand. Now even after you stop speaking to a person they have something that references your purpose that is always accessible through their phone. Your purpose will begin to spread like wildfire because you have separated yourself from the majority of people who only have business cards and resumes. The next step is to improve your communication skills. Two ideas that have enabled me to improve my communication skills are consistent practice and accountability. Practice is critical to the success of any presentation or even confidence in talking to other people. You must have a good idea of what you want to say before you say it. I believe that accountability is also important for effective communication. You should make your best effort to respond to emails from clients or coworkers within 24 hours to ensure that you are not slowing down anyone else’s progress. You might find that if you practice this others might return the favor. Networking and communication skills are critical to developing your personal brand and cooperating with other people.
Now that you have learned a little bit about personal branding I would like to encourage you to try at least one thing that is mentioned in this article. Regulate social media accounts and create a personal website for your personal brand. Spend time developing a brand purpose or a personal mission statement and spend time each and every day showing other people that you are putting this purpose first in your life. Finally you must try to improve your networking and communication skills so you can work with others more effectively while also spreading your brand’s message. I hope you try some of these tips and have success developing a strong personal brand!
“10 Things Your Students Should Know About Their Digital Footprints.” TeachHUB. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2015.
Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
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“Personal Branding.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2015.