While researching and reading current articles and blogs on career and professional development, I’m noticing an interesting trend. Most of the articles that I read are all about personal branding online. Now, please don’t read this and think that I’m not a fan of personal branding as it pertains to professional branding and networking ( I LOVE personal branding and being your most authentic self). All I am saying is that in the quest to craft and curate your best personal brand online for the purpose of professional growth, let’s just consider some of the biggest myths about personal branding so that we’re all clear.
3. Developing your personal brand should be the primary focus over skill development. Again, I am a big fan of personal branding but in the landscape of career development articles, you’re going to see most or your advice leaning towards developing your LinkedIn account and learning how to write the perfect Twitter bio. As an employer, would you hire the person with the most skill or the person with the best presence online? Let us not forget that the real reason why employers aren’t hiring:
“Indeed, one of the perennial complaints of employers is that they cannot find qualified workers. Ancestry.com, a genealogy Web site in Provo, Utah, has openings for 150 engineers, data mining specialists and developers of mobile apps. “While we find a lot of people who are unemployed,” said Eric Shoup, a senior vice president, “they are not the people who bring the skill sets we need for our business.”
He said the company did virtually all its hiring away from other companies.”
– Job Gains Reflect Hope a Recovery Is Blooming (New York Times – 2/3/2012)
2. You can trust everyone’s “expert” opinion online. Twitter can be a very tricky place to get professional advice online. While there are great business and career management experts like @YouTernMark, @SmallBizLady, @MeghanMBiro and @HRMargo (just to name a short list of a few) who spend their time sharing relevant tips from results-based personal experience and tapping into their deep networking pools, there is room for everyone to have a voice online even if they don’t have credentials. Check out this advice from a recently published Forbes.com about the perils of networking just for networking’s sake (and the same can be said about social media networking):
“”It’s all about who you know.” Well, not entirely, say recruiters. Rather than building a quantity of connections, build quality connections. Also ask yourself: Have I been carrying myself in a way that I’m a good referral? Strong connections help, but be sure you can back it up with experience and competence.”
– The Worst Career Advice (Forbes.com)
1. Personal Branding is a relatively new concept. While social media is a great equalizer for introverts and extroverts, the concept of personal branding isn’t new. Before social media started to change the way we did business and built interpersonal relationships with one another, “Personal Brand” was simply named “character, integrity and reputation.” We have always had to ask ourselves questions like “how do I want to be remember?” and “what value can I add to the conversation?” The only difference is that now the things that we say and do have become 24/7 online marketing material for our backgrounds and opinions in a virtual space as opposed to memories left in the hearts and minds of those who we’ve come in contact with.
A great book to check out on personal branding/networking is called “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” by Harvey Mackay.
Have I left out any myths? Do you think we place personal branding over skill development?
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