Do You Have a Personal Brand?

I have a problem. It’s been a problem my entire adult life, and you can blame my parents. I do.

I was born at BC Women’s when it was still called The Grace General Hospital. My mother decided to name me after the hospital I was born in, but my sister, Shelly, 13 at the time, always loved the name “Becky.” So they named me “Grace Rebecca Coleman” and I grew up as “Becky.” To this day, my family and any friends I made prior to graduating from university, still call me “Becky.”

Which one of these two people would you give a job to?

When I started to apply for jobs after graduation, I knew no one would hire “Becky Coleman.” They might, however, hire “Rebecca Coleman,” because she sounded like she might be a grownup, so I put that name on all my resumes. As time went on, I became more and more Rebecca Coleman (although my closest friends call me Bex).

A couple of months ago, I qualified for benefits through work. Because of some screwed-up paperwork stuff, my real first name came out, and somehow, my name got changed across the system at BCIT.

I walked into my first Tuesday night class of the semester at BCIT and introduced myself as “Rebecca Coleman.”

“Oh, good!” responded one of my students. “I googled “Grace Coleman” and nothing came up. I was worried.”

I’ve spent the last five years building my brand on my name.

Here’s the truth, guys: we live in deeply uncertain times. You may think you have the most secure job in the world. But you don’t. In this economy, there is no such thing as job security.

The only thing you can feel secure in, is your own personal brand. If you have one.

You need to be on LinkedIn. You need to take 2 hours of your life and create a robust, detailed LinkedIn profile, and then connect to as many people as possible and grow your network. You need to do this now, while you have a job, or while you are in school. When you’re looking for work is not the time to be creating your network on LinkedIn. Do it now, and when you need it, it’ll be there for you. Feel free to connect with me.

What’s my personal brand? Social media education with a fun, cheeky delivery. Almost everything I put out through my various feeds comes back to that.

What’s your personal brand? What are you doing to create value out there in social media land? The more people who view you as being valuable, the more followers you’ll have. And the more influence you’ll have. Are you just broadcasting, or are you trying to engage with people out there? Engagement is another key to influence.

It might take you some time to figure out what your personal brand is, and that’s okay. But start today. Start building. Because then, when you need it to be there for you, it will be. Unless, of course, there’s an administrative error.

Further reading: this awesome post by Rosetta Thurman.

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