“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” Jeff Bezos
Your reputation, your image, the “persona” you display to the world, your personality, your professional self … in fact all of the above, and perhaps more.
You build that brand over time, developing and refining that professional, and personal you that the world sees.
You will educate yourself, formally and informally.
You will adopt a “look” … that will likely change over time, but very often your style is distinctly you.
You will adapt your communication style, to suit you.
Whether it is done consciously or sub-consciously, the brand that is you will emerge.
If you are serious about your career you will want to shape that brand, and to develop a positive image. You will certainly want to avoid a brand that is detrimental to the career that you desire.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw
There is a great deal of press these days about the role that social media plays in your brand.
We read about professionals who are fired because they were caught on Youtube acting in an unacceptable manner.
We see job applicants who don’t get the job because their facebook profile is filled with images that a company might consider unprofessional … or more.
We see law enforcement officers caught over stepping their bounds … and more.
All caught on camera for the world to see.
Even if you are not serious about your career today, it IS possible that you might be serious in the future … and what goes online never goes away! I’m not sure that my sixteen year old self would have been too worried about my personal brand as I started out my career in the Royal Navy, but it matters to me now.
So, in this age of social media, here is some advice for young professionals, and for anyone who just might aspire to a professional career.
- Always remember that everybody has cameras.
- Youtube videos go viral for the strangest reasons and you don’t want to be in one.
- Compromising pictures end careers, sometimes before they begin.
- Companies need to protect their brand, and your actions might make you the risk.
- There is no safe way to be an idiot, but the safest is in your own home with very close friends.
- Reputations are built over years … and destroyed in minutes.
- Your personal brand is who you are, don’t let yourself down.
- Alcohol impacts your decision-making, don’t let it go too far.
- Model your behavior after positive role models.
- If in doubt, ask yourself what your mother would say?
This is just a fact of life these days. In some ways it gives a tiny taste of the paparazzi lifestyle of the rich and famous. However for some of them, any press is good press … for most of us that just is not the case!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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