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  • Dealing with Dueling Personal Brands

    Most people don’t know I have a full-time job in public relations, outside of all the career-related activities in which I’m involved. I went to school for public relations. All the jobs on my résumé are in public relations. Yet, I’m probably much better known in the career space.

    Why is this and is it what I want?

    Public relations has always excited me. That’s why I was one of the few people who went to college knowing exactly what I wanted to do the rest of my life…or did I?

    An iota after I started my PR career, I was thrown into the role of a hiring manager – and fell in love again. And, rightly or wrongly, I’ve spent much more time on my career expert personal brand over the years than I have on my PR one.

    I don’t talk about my full-time job often because I find it confuses people (not the job itself but the fact that I do something other than provide career advice). But, even as I strongly contemplate switching gears into the career space 100% of the time, I find myself torn.

    Have I been doing myself a disservice this entire time?

    On March 1, several colleagues and I launched my second business, MyPRMatch.com. I just can’t seem to break away from my first love. Part of the reason I’m transitioning is the numerous problems I see in the industry every day, at least one of which I hope to solve with MyPRMatch.com.

    But what about my brand? Have I neglected the PR side of me publicly for so long that my brand isn’t strong enough to push this thing out there like it deserves? I am, after all, the most senior PR professional on our team. I feel like a lot is riding on me to make this work.

    So how do I (you) bounce back?

    Luckily, I don’t feel I’m starting completely from scratch with my PR brand. It’s been there all along, I just haven’t properly nurtured it. And I still don’t plan to make it my “front and center” personal brand – that’s reserved for the career expert side of me.

    The first thing I’m going to do is set a few goals. (No books this time!) Planning always helps me visualize the path I need to take.

    I actually have a few speaking engagements lined up in the next several months, so that’s a great start. I also already have multiple business cards, depending on the situation.

    I’m going to review my official biography and decide whether or not I weave my PR background into it or create a separate PR bio altogether. Alongside my biography, I plan to review my social networking presence. Is there something more I can do to present both sides of my personal brand without one swallowing the other?

    Look for an update from me in an upcoming post!

    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 forExaminer.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com.

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