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Improving Your Personal Brand, An Action Plan!

Posted by Samara Parker
December 10th, 2012

I spend a lot of time working on my GPP. GPP, for those with a life outside the gym, means general physical preparedness. To me, it means the ability to protect friends and family if (when) the Zombie apocalypse happens. To those who haven't watched Resident Evil as many times as me, it means developing the physical abilities necessary to succeed at whatever tasks life may throw your way. Be it rescuing cats from trees, lifting heavy grocery bags or escaping freaky Zombie dogs, great GPP is the best tool in your belt. That's why I do pull-ups; honestly, the fear of zombies nipping at my ankles is about the only thing that could motivate me enough to do such a thing!

Great social recruiters have something in common that I'd like to call GSMP, or General Social Media Preparedness. I'd like to call it that, but realize it would be very silly, considering there's already a much more common name for this type of preparedness : Personal Brand. These recruiters have worked hard to cultivate their personal brand and it's a huge part of what they bring to the table. They know that they can't simply tweet a job post and expect it to go viral without having first built up a network to receive their tweet. The best social recruiters have worked hard to find their own voice, build their online reputation, and create relationships. They come to the social networking game prepared, which, as with Zombie dogs, is the best way to come out ahead... or at least with your leg still firmly attached!

I don't know about you, but my personal brand needs a little work. I wrote about this last Wednesday and linked some great articles and apps for improving personal branding. These links are awesome, but I thought it might help to lay out a few really important steps to creating and making use of an effective personal brand.

Step 0.5: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Before you can start to build your personal brand you need to figure out what you want your brand to be. This decision should be based on your perception of yourself, other peoples perceptions of you, and the type of clients and candidates you are looking to attract. If you keep these three things in mind when building your brand you'll be able to brand in a way that attracts clients while staying honest to who you are. Your personal brand is what separates you from everyone else in your field. So it has to be different. It is also the face you present to colleagues and clients so it can't be so different that it freaks them out. It's a fine line, but really not that hard to navigate. If you want to find young, edgy talent, you want to attract trendy, design firms, and people other than your mom find you hilarious, then you're personal brand can include wry jokes, tweeting about punk rock, and cuss-words. Basically, you can strive to emulate That Cynical Girl , Laurie Ruettimann. I wish I was that cool and self-aware! If your client base is straight-laced and corporate, and you're hunting for experienced talent who would rather wear suits than sneakers to an interview, make like John Sumser of HR Examiner and establish yourself as a wise authority in your field.

To discover how best to brand yourself, I recommend (1) writing down your brand mission statement, (2) goals, (3) which audience you're trying to reach and (4) what type of content / voice that audience responds to.

Example: Sam Parker

Mission statement

- Write articles that are informative, helpful, and entertaining. Do ample research, create my own unique content and do everything in my power to warn people of the up-and-coming zombie apocalypse.


- Provide content that will keep my readers interested. Expand readership. Promote Jobcast and help Jobcast users.

Which audience?

- Employers, recruiters, other bloggers in my field and job seekers.

What my audience responds to

- Respect, good information, using clear language (not buzz-words), a little humor and a lot of Facebook talk.

Next week: Steps 1 - 3 and my love hate relationship with LinkedIn.