Personal Branding is all about perceptions! You are what people say you are! And what influences perceptions? It is the way you act and behave over time. When people associate your behaviour with what you are and what you do, it results in credibility. It is essential that our stakeholders see our actions to be positive and trustworthy, otherwise they may not choose us.

Personal Branding Digital Footprint

Research conducted by organizations such as Career Builder and Microsoft support the fact that digital is influencing perceptions, especially in the area of employment. Evidence suggests that an increasing number of companies are directing their initiatives towards conducting digital background checks not only to form opinion but disqualify candidates. Evidence also suggests that they are not limiting their efforts to Twitter and Facebook but digging really deep to include digital worlds such as Second Life.

For people growing up in the digital era, this is really hard to fathom. Like it or not, this is happening! Digital is the new real and we have to make a concerted effort to share and publish responsibly. When done right, digital is a powerful way to influence perceptions and build a credible and trustworthy personal brand. Here’s how:

-You can highlight your achievements and qualifications

-Display what others say about you

-Exude your personality and creativity which allows your stakeholders to check for fit

-Demonstrate your thinking, ideas, beliefs and skills

Pitfalls to avoid:

-Never lie or exaggerate qualifications. Digital is transparent.

-Images are priceless. Scour Facebook and My Space etc. and search for images tagged with your name. Check on Google, Yahoo, Bing and start sanitizing.

-Be mindful about what you post about people and especially your current or previous employers. This is exactly the type of thing that makes your potential stakeholder lose interest.

-Communication skills. 4ever, GMAB or LOL might be ok for text messaging, but what impression would it leave on a potential employer on Twitter.

Do you have any suggestions to create positive impressions using digital? Are there other pitfalls to avoid? Ignoring the importance of creating a trustworthy and credible digital identity can prove to be a risky proposition in a highly competitive business environment.

Teg Brar, MSc.