Building your personal brand has become an important factor in promoting yourself to hiring managers, employers, and potential clients. One facet of building your brand is networking and building your connections. Networking online or offline, following proper etiquette or netiquette can help build upon your reputation and character.
Is this really you?
As you worked hard to network online and build your online brand, you should work harder to build it offline. Your personality online should be the same away from the computer screen. Introduce yourself with a firm handshake. Perfect your 30-second elevator pitch, and make it creative and memorable. Have business cards with information to tie in both platforms to connect with you online and offline. Met professionals at an event? Re-connect with them online so they won’t forget who you are later on.
You wore that?
Dress in the appropriate attire for the event. If you are not sure what the dress code is for a networking event, over-dress for the occasion. It would be upsetting to have your personal brand take a dive because all they could remember is what you wore to an event.
Remember, networking goes both ways. Know that it is not always about your overall agenda. Provide assistance to your future connection. Stay in contact with your connections. Send e-mails or call them to chat. Sharing articles and information can help build your reputation as a trustworthy expert or as a person your contacts can go to for information. Be truthful in the information you share. Those you are connecting with will know if your intentions are not for real and end up putting a dent to your personal brand.
Remember, what you say and what you do in a room full of professionals or on Twitter can have a lasting affect on your image. How you present yourself to future connections can help or hinder with a future job lead or a new client.
How else can networking help or hinder your personal brand?
About the Author:
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. 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.