There are plenty of “must-dos” for personal branding — things like how Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook can help you land a job or grow your business when used correctly. But are you aware of the “don’ts” you might be doing?
Not every platform is the right one for communicating your message. Sending inappropriate or unnecessary updates leaves your audience irritated. Choosing the appropriate platform includes following or “friending” the right audience in conjunction with your goals. Keep in mind your audience’s interests when you communicate with them.
Using interactive communication for advertising
The goal of social networking is not to advertise a product or service. In order to successfully use social media, be social! Reply to tweets, status updates, and discussions, and update your personal page frequently. Be personal and personable. Automated messages diminish the intended use of networking sites and should not be used.
Personal and professional networking profiles should not be separate; therefore it is important to strike a consistent balance between the two. A personal brand is a full-time job, both online and in person – it should not be dropped once you land the job. Your brand should be consistent throughout all forms of communication, so checking them often and linking them together can help with this goal. It’s typically against the networking sites’ terms of service (such as Facebook) for one person to maintain more than one profile – so consolidation is key.
Employers don’t only want to hear about what you want, they want to know how you can further their interests with your skills and experiences. How are you unique? What do you bring to the table? Why should you be hired? Highlight your achievements and success stories, connecting them to a common goal.
Speaking negatively about current or former employers is a flashing red warning sign. Not only does it look bad to potential employers and tarnishes your reputation, but it always has the ability to get back to the person. Anything that you post online is essentially public and should be treated as such.
What other personal branding mistakes would you add to this list?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, an exclusive online community connecting the best internship and entry-level job candidates with the best employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for Examiner.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com.