Tag Archives: Personal Branding

Why LinkedIn Matters

Have you ever Googled yourself? What’s the first thing that comes up? For most of us, it’s our social media accounts, specifically our LinkedIn profiles that first appear. Now pretend a prospective employee or your new project manager is Googling you. Would you be comfortable with them seeing your LinkedIn profile in its current condition?

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a webinar by William Arruda about the power of LinkedIn and how companies could use it to recruit talent. I never paid much attention to my LinkedIn profile except for when I first graduated, but after this webinar, you better believe I updated my profile.

My results when I Googled myself

My results when I Googled myself

If you haven’t been on LinkedIn lately, the site has several new features, including the ability to customize your background and add documents to different roles you’ve listed. It’s not just your online resume anymore; it’s your personal website where you can create an online brand for yourself. Maybe you want to highlight a volunteer position that showcases other skills. You can do that and provide real examples for others. You can show the value you bring to your current organization and share pieces of thought leadership as well.

What Arruda said that I haven’t realized yet was that LinkedIn can be a competitive advantage for companies. Think about it: If your employees have strong profiles, where they share content about or related to your company or industry, they become brand ambassadors. In turn, these employees increase the visibility of your company and can engage others potential employees. It’s like a free mini recruiting system!

This is a mindset shift for most people. We are all used to our resumes in a tidy Word document that we can easily email to people. What we forget about is our online profiles like LinkedIn, which could reach more people daily. Companies also need to have an online presence and keep social media as a top priority. By strategically engaging their employees and sharing content on LinkedIn, companies can retain current staff and recruit even stronger talent.

When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Does your company have a strong online presence? How do they consistently engage employees? Share your thoughts below!

The Lost Art of Storytelling

Think back to when you were a child. What was your favorite bedtime story, one you could hear over and over again? Now looking back, what was it about that story that intrigued you? The characters, a particular moral, a happy ending? Either way, it’s clear that stories, whether real or fictional, have the power to influence.

storytellingA few weeks ago, I listened to a presentation by Lani Peterson, an award-winning storyteller, author and public speaker. In her 60 minute talk, she spoke about how powerful personal stories can be if constructed correctly. Her main points are summarized below:

  • Stories need to be personal, emotional and connected to your values. If a story isn’t authentic, it loses its power. Having a powerful story positively contributes to your presence and identity.
  • As you’re telling your story to others, take time to step back and evaluate. Check in with yourself and others within your organization to ensure the story you’re telling is aligned to what others know or hear about you.
  • There is also immense power in listening, especially when you are new to a company and need to better understand their story and the motivations behind it. By listening, you can find common values between you and your colleagues or your company at large.

After listening to Lani, I reflected on what she said and really thought about my own story. I’d venture to say your personal and professional narratives are one in the same. You might need to tailor it to your audience. I asked myself the following questions to strengthen my story:

  • What do I want to be known for?
  • How did I get here/what did the journey look like?
  • If I wasn’t in the room and someone asked about Alex, what would I want that response to look like?

Your story is essentially your personal brand. It’s a tool you should use to build your credibility andbranding establish strong relationships with others. What I find challenging when developing your story is aligning it to your company’s values while also stay true to its meaning. Like Lani said, a story must be authentic to be powerful. But, it’s also important to message it correctly so it resonates with others within your organization.

As I move forward in my career journey, I plan to take Lani’s tips with me. I’ll also continue to evolve my story as I experience new things or challenges. How have you created a career narrative? Has it changed over time?

Peace Out 2014

Hey there, long time no write! I feel like I’m virtually dusting off this blog in order to write this post. I’m almost embarrassed that it’s been three months since my last entry. But, no use dwelling on the past, let’s look to the future.

It’s that time of year again when we all write down resolutions, renew the gym membership and swear we’re going to make this year the best one yet. Well, that’s wonderful but it’s something we should be doing all year-long, not just in January. So while I wasn’t blogging as much this year, I was:

– Developing my personal brand at work. As a young professional new to my role, I had the perfect opportunity during the last year to build my brand and network. I think I’ve done a fairly good job of that. Now it’s time to refine and focus on specific areas of interest.

– Volunteering. This was a big theme for me in 2014. I coached my brother’s little league team this spring. I also taught grammar school through a program at work and became a big sister through Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I find dedicating your time versus your money to be so rewarding.

– Traveling. I mean, we’ve discussed this already. California, Colorado, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, Florida, Philly (my second home) and the big ones: London and Paris. How many 20-somethings have that list of travel on their resume in just one year?! Not many is the answer. Traveling, whether it be for work or for pleasure, broadened my perspective and gave me some unforgettable memories.

– Sweating it. Exercise played a big role in 2014. I refound my love for Zumba and created a mini family there. I also stretched myself both literally and figuratively during yoga and continued to run, completing five races in 2014. While all the weight hasn’t fallen off, I do feel better both physically and mentally.

Looking back, 2014 was pretty awesome. I learned a lot, grew in ways I didn’t know possible and kind of, sort of figured out a plan for the future. A couple of areas I hope to focus on in 2015 are:

– More travel! Shocking, I know! The first vacation of 2015 is already in the works. I also plan to take more advantage of my work trips. Travel is just good for the soul.

– Being more mindful. This is going to be in all areas of my life. I’ll share more about how this is going to happen later with a book review. But, generally, I want to focus more and be reaching my maximum potential at all time (or almost all the time). What does being at my best look like? That’s the big question for 2015.

– This blog! Unfortunately, this blog has taken a backseat in my ever busy life. That’s going to change in 2015. I have plans for a redesign, several mini series including one about Lean In and some book reviews. It’s going to take time but it will happen! The next post you can expect is my second entry in Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy essay contest!

I hope you take the time to review your 2014 and plan for 2015. Let’s make a deal to check-in throughout the year on our progress. Wishing you another rockstar year!

2015

The Dangers of Social Media

Social media can be an effective tool for most people. In the field of public relations, social media has become wildly popular with full job positions dedicated to planning and executing a social media strategy. While most of the known world has jumped on the social media bandwagon, if not used properly, it can ruin a person or brand.

Depending on the level of fame, celebrities can run their own Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. accounts. On one hand, it makes their communications more personal; people feel connected with the individual, not just their Twitter feed. Cory Booker runs a successful, personal Twitter account and really converses with people. To find out more about how he does this, check out my post here.

social_media_collage_3

In some situations, celebrities running their own social media accounts becomes a PR nightmare. By the way, I define celebrity on Twitter by having the blue check mark next to your name. Take Manti Te’o for example. Here is a young man with a world of possibilities ahead of him. Yet, because of an alleged phantom girlfriend and her fake presence on Twitter, his reputation is tarnished. His assumed girlfriend’s Twitter name changed several times and it appeared that most of their communications were through social media. What a very public forum for a very private part of someone’s life. It’s true, all parties involved should have known better than to publicize personal details on social media. But, if everyone wasn’t so obsessed with this medium, would any of this have happened? It is almost required for college and professional athletes to have a Twitter or Facebook account. That pressure from fans could cloud someone’s judgement.

ob twitter feedTwitter blew up yesterday during the inauguration. There were specific accounts filled with inauguration information and live feeds of coverage. One account even tweeted the majority of President Obama’s speech in case someone missed it. Yet, with all of the positive information streaming live yesterday, a reporter made a comment that President Obama was tweeting during church. A tweet was sent from his personal account @BarackObama while the first family was attending church. Now this is where people need to use some common sense. Do we all really think the President runs his own account?! I’m sure he approves the content and might send a tweet or two. But in reality, he’s paying some lucky individual to manage his account. So his Blackberry was absolutely not out during church yesterday. Michelle would have known of that.

Social media comes with a certain level of gray area. No one can be 100 percent certain where tweets are coming from or who is actually tweeting. For PR professionals, it is essential that client social media accounts be monitored diligently. Regardless of who is managing the account, the PR team or the person, everyone should proceed with caution. One wrong tweet, post or picture could damage a reputation forever.

The Fate of Lance Armstrong

Last week, I wrote a post about the Lance Armstrong scandal and how the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him for life. Within the last week, things have gone from bad to considerably worse for Armstrong.

The International Cycling Union has ruled in favor of the USADA’s findings, officially stripping Armstrong of his titles and banning him from the sport for life. In addition to Nike, both Anheuser Busch and RadioShack have dropped their sponsorship to Armstrong. The athlete changed his Twitter biography, removing information about winning his Tour de France titles. His Livestrong charity is still doing remarkably well, though the website still contains information about Armstrong winning the titles. Donations to the Livestrong Foundation have increased in recent weeks despite Armstrong’s personal struggles. However, this could be due to the organization celebrating its 15th anniversary. There are some who want their donations back, saying Armstrong scammed the organization and is a disgrace.

Without cycling and Livestrong, what is left for Lance Armstrong? His personal brand was built around his career as an exceptional athlete, cancer survivor and philanthropist. His cycling career is now forever tarnished and he no longer runs his charity. Of course, he still beat cancer and can focus on aspects of his personal life, like raising his children. But in terms of his professional career, it seems like Armstrong caused irreversible damage to his brand.

One other big question remains: Will Armstrong ever admit to doping? As of right now, Armstrong strongly denies using any illegal substances. While some Armstrong supporters will always stand by him, the general public cannot refute 1,000 pages of evidence. If Armstrong admits to the findings and apologizes, will his brand recover? An apology would be a great start but Armstrong must rebuild the trust he once had with his fans, other athletes and supporters of his charity.

What do you think about Armstrong’s personal brand? Can he recover? Share your thoughts with me!

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