In the first post I wrote for studentbranding.com, I noted that the best way to develop your personal brand is to start with the basics. As I continue this three part blog series, I will go over the specifics of these personal branding basics.
The first post highlighted the importance of networking when it comes to your personal brand. This post will cover the second personal branding basic: the ability to manage your reputation on the Web.
Managing your reputation is something you do every day when you are with your friends, family, teachers and professors. Depending on the person you are talking to, you may say different things or behave in slightly different ways. You want to appear cool to your friends and smart to your teachers and professors. We often do not think consciously about our shifting behaviors; it is just a natural byproduct of being around different types of people.
Managing your reputation online is just as important as managing your in-person reputation. When interacting on the Web, you are networking with all of these audiences at once. It is necessary to portray yourself in a positive light online because you never know who might be looking at your Facebook profile or Twitter page. Your online reputation is something you can- and should- take control over.
High School Students
Follow this rule: If you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, don’t post it online. When you post pictures, status updates and wall posts online they instantly become endorsed by you. When you begin filling out college applications, make sure there is nothing online that will come back to haunt you. Research shows that 61% of colleges are currently involved with social networking sites, a statistic that will surely increase with time.
Beware of anything online with your name on it. The pictures and comments you post online should be fully represented by you both personally and professionally. Sure, the toga party was a blast- but are the pictures worth losing a future internship or job over? Keep them in a safe place at home and watch for the pictures people “tag” of you on Facebook. Privacy settings are your friend across all social networks. Use them!
Other options to consider:
- Profile pictures: Many times, your profile picture is the first impression people have of you. Make sure you chose a profile picture that stays true to who you are while also remaining professional.
- Profile information: The information on your profile is your personal real estate to manage and call your own. Make sure you utilize the space you have to come across as interesting, professional and personable. On Twitter, make sure the bio line tells the reader the most important piece of information about you.
One Last thing…
Google yourself. Type your name into Google and conduct a search for yourself. Do you like everything you see? If not, make sure you are taking the necessary steps to change or edit the information in your control. Like I stated above, controlling your reputation online is just as important as controlling your reputation in real life.
Jamie Mitcham is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University and the current communications coordinator at Casady School in Oklahoma City. Connect with Jamie on Twitter at @JamieMitcham and read the rest of her bio here: http://studentbranding.com/contributors.