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‘Personal Branding’ or ‘You Don’t Have To Be A Hooker To Be On Sale”



Branding.  Whether you are talking about branding an international corporation, a small business or an individual, the reasoning is the same.  It is about developing a coherent plan as to how you will present yourself, your product or your company  to the world with the goal of fostering positive associations and good vibrations (which ultimately lead to dollars).  In essence, it is about putting your best face forward… or at least your most marketable one.

Personal Branding is the art of selling yourself to the world.  Not in the biblical sense of course (unless that’s what you’re into, I’m not here to judge) but in the entrepreneurial sense.  It is about how you carry yourself, the image you present; both physically in our day-to-day lives and in the part of our lives played out on the internet.  (And for those of us pursuing a life in multimedia, that is a sizable chunk.)  What would you think if you were conducting an interview and the interviewee came in all disheveled and fifteen minutes late?  Whether there were valid reasons behind their condition or not would be almost irrelevant, the damage would be done and it would be unlikely they would get the job.

The same can be said about our web presence and how we manage it.  The majority of us have a presence on several social media platforms such as linkedIn, facebook or twitter.  Many of us even have personal websites and other webspaces.  Each of these is a little piece of you and people (ie. potential customers and employers) will judge you on what they see there.  So if your website looks disheveled or if you are constantly posting snarky facebook status statements, it will be noticed.  Conversely, if you pay conscious attention to developing a positive, healthy web presence with consistent branding that points to the best parts of you, this too will be noticed (and to more positive effect).

Personal branding guru William Arruda discusses his view  of branding in the video below.  He breaks it down into being about two things; who you are and what makes you of value.  This is basic marketing really.  If you are going to sell a product, figure out what is special about it and market that aspect.  We are all unique, but that can go unnoticed with 6 billion other unique people around.  Personal branding allows is to shine a light on our uniqueness and get it noticed.



A teacher  asked our class to consider whether we are  in favour of or opposed to personal branding.  That is like asking me whether I am for or against mountains.  It is irrelevant, because no matter my stance the mountains will still be there tomorrow.  Personal branding will be there too.  We WILL be googled.  We can’t stop it nor should we want to.  It is up to us then to play the game and use it to our advantage rather than let it work to our detriment.     It is a tool that we can use and it is a weapon that can be used against us.  Personally, I’d rather it were the former than the later.



‘Social Media and the Job Hunt’ or ‘Don’t Look Now, But Somebody Changed the Rules!’

The Social Media Web

The Social Media Web

I can remember writing my first resume.  I painstakingly typed it out (Yes, on an actual typewriter.  Don’t mock me.) along with a cover letter and hand-delivered it to my prospective employer; Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream.  Well, those days are gone along with my habit of binging on 31 flavours  and an occasional ‘International Cream’ (They were laced with various liqueurs from around the world.  It was great.  You could be a rebellious bad ass and have ice cream at the same time.).

No, we live our lives digitally now and whether you like it or hate it, it ain’t gonna change.  The only winning strategy is to roll with the times and acknowledge that having a strong web presence across a variety of social media platforms isn’t just a bonus, it’s pretty much a necessity.  Sites like linkedIn, facebook, youtube and twitter are allowing people to find out about and connect with each other to a degree that would have been almost inconceivable just even twenty years ago.  (Some of us were still getting used to having a bank card back then.)

Upon graduation now, my best prospect for finding an employer or for having them find me, is to

Dan Schawbel of mashable.com has written an excellent article entitled ‘7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media’ that provides a solid outline for developing and managing a social media-based job search strategy.  http://mashable.com/2009/01/05/job-search-secrets/ The 7 secrets he outlines are as follows:

  1. Conduct a people search instead of a job search
  2. Use attraction-based marketing to get job offers
  3. Be proactive on Twitter
  4. Capitalize on LinkedIn
  5. Advertise your brand using AdWords and Facebook Social Ads
  6. Construct a video resume and upload it to YouTube
  7. Subscribe to blogs that have job listings

Of particular interest to me is number 2.  This is a fundamental swing away from the classic job-search model.  Whereas I had to go out and pound the pavement for that first job, proactively seeking out employment, now the prescribed strategy is to have a well-planned and well-groomed presence on the web and use that to attract employers to you.  Businesses large and small are using sites like linkedIn as resources for finding just the right person to fill spots in their organization.  This change in the nature of the job market is explained here briefly in the following video.

“That’s great”, you say! You love social networking!  And it is great.  It’s never been easier to connect with people, or people that know people, than it is today. We have the whole world at our fingertips and that is an incredible resource.  There are perils though and we need to be aware of them.  Because just as easily as a potential employer can find your resume, they can also stumble across that picture of you from that night when you went to your buddy’s, got really hammered, passed out on his couch and he drew kitty-kat whiskers and the like all over your face.  Some employers may find that entertaining or think it shows your humanity, but don’t count on it.  It doesn’t mean that you have to whitewash your facebook account or go page-to-page untagging yourself, it is just a reminder that Big Brother may indeed be watching!

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This is a test of my posting system. This is only a test. Were it not a test I would say something witty and insightful. For now, just tweedle your thumbs.