I will help you jumpstart momentum…
I don’t care who gets credit; I just want to win…
I catalyze businesses poised for growth…
I run toward the fire…
These attempts at describing personal attributes have each appeared in an actual online profile or what is now known as a social resume. Good or bad, maybe even over-the-top, they were an effort at not appearing average. When it comes to personal branding, you can’t afford to be timid. Figure out what’s special or extraordinary about you and tell the world with every tool available–just be authentic! Choose your words carefully and avoid those overused buzzwords that seem to appear on almost every social and hard copy resume. Words like those that were identified as the Top 10 most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn in 2013: Creative, Organizational, Effective, Motivated, Extensive Experience, Track Record, Innovative, Responsible, Analytical and Problem Solver.
How do you describe you? What’s remarkable about you? Are you famous for something (even among your friends)? What makes you interesting? What do you do well? If you were a company, how would you advertise your product? Would you have a social media strategy and what would it be? Would you be on Facebook and LinkedIn? Twitter? Yes, yes and yes–of course you would! And, you would carefully construct your ad and promotional package to reflect the characteristics, attributes and benefits of your product. You would clearly communicate what’s unique about it and why people should buy it, right? Most importantly, if you don’t raise the value, you have to cut the price. Price should be interpreted as a job offer, salary increase or any number of other potentially compelling opportunities. YOU are the value.
Just remember this: Whatever you do, avoid the vast sea of sameness–you want to stand out, not blend in. You want to stand out not only for who you are but for what you do. It’s one thing for your name to appear at the top of a google query or at least on the first page of results when someone types in your name, but its something all together different (and quite impressive) for your name to appear on the first page of results based on a google inquiry of a particular profession or position. Imagine if someone googled “CEO”, “attorney”, “administrative assistant” or “screenwriter” and your name appeared on or at the top of the first page! That would be the pinnacle of personal branding! We wouldn’t want to set our sights any lower than that, right?
[Technical Point] As you think about and develop a list of words and phrases that best describe you, it’s important to contemplate certain keywords that will likely match the search criteria that others may be entering into one of the search engines to find you. It’s important that these keywords are woven into the fabric of your profile–headline, body and summary. There was a time when those more sophisticated than others, related to enhancing search results would use all of the obvious keywords in the associated meta-tags but meta-tags have become so polluted that the major search engines now virtually ignore them and look for keyword matches throughout the actual document. OK, enough of that. While you don’t have a crystal ball, you should give serious thought to your key words and phrases–they make a significant difference in your search relevance. Remember, editing is work-in-progress, on-going and never ends. The good news is the fact that YOU are your only product and hopefully a high priority. And, working on something this important is always easier to get into and stay excited about. You deserve you’re full attention.
So, give serious thought to the words and phrases used in your branding efforts. Don’t be humble or timid when developing your brand but do avoid being arrogant and that means choosing your words very carefully. Furthermore, your brand is your value promise and you have to market the you-know-what out of it to everyone, everywhere, everyday. That includes not only the people you work with but your entire virtual network. If you take advantage of all the tools available to you, they will work on your behalf around the clock. They are your full-time agents in other words and who couldn’t use that? Remember, personal branding is not an exercise in humility.
Be bold, not bashful.
Don’t aim to be average, you might just hit your target.
- Do You Run Toward the Fire? (tommccollum.me)
- Advanced Personal Branding 101 – Are You in Control? (tommccollum.wordpress.com)
- Establishing Your Personal Brand – A Stake in the Ground (tommccollum.wordpress.com)
- Personal Branding? It Doesn’t Apply to Me…or Does It? (tommccollum.wordpress.com)