2011 brings new tools and Web sites to end your personal brand schizophrenia and take more control of the message you’re sending.
By William Arruda
Expect to encounter these five personal branding trends in 2011 and be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities they offer and combat the obstacles they might present.
1. Anywhere Hiring
As companies increase hiring after the global recession eases, they will be more open than ever to bringing on ideal candidates regardless of where they are located. Driven by leaner budgets, years of working successfully with off-site employees and ever-improving technology, we’ll see a marked increase in the number of people entering and re-entering the workforce who are not colocated with their team. This trend will make offices slimmer and commutes shorter, but it will cause us to rely on technology even more to build our brands to both get the jobs and to remain relevant and compelling while in them. When I deliver a keynote address and entertain questions, I’m often asked, “How do I build visibility with my team when I work at home and rarely see my colleagues?” Video is the answer.
Video will be a particularly critical tool for interviewing remote candidatesand a vital medium for communicating your message and building your identity with colleagues. If you are applying for jobs in 2011, make sure you feel comfortable using video.
2. Web Purity
Combine the growth of online social networks, the ease of creating your own blog and omnipresent Internet connectivity, with the pressure to be online looking for jobs, connecting with friends and available to colleagues, and you can see that the Web has become a really crowded and noisy place.
Only a couple of years ago, when you Googled me, “William Arruda,” all the results were about me. I have a fairly unique name (thanks, Dad!). But now, a Google search reveals that there’s a teacher, a cop, a fireman and a bodybuilder who share my name. You have likely seen the same when you Google yourself. This creates confusion for those who want to learn about you — making it hard for them to know if you are the John Smith who ran the Boston marathon or the one who was accused of insider trading. You want hiring managers to associate you with the right Google results.
Services will become available to help you stand out from others with your name. In 2010, Vizibility launched — offering the opportunity to build a ‘Search Me’ button that you put at the top of your resume. Look for more products and services that will help you — especially those of you with a common name — showcase accurate and relevant content.
3. 3-D Personal Brand
As blended search becomes the norm and Web researchers demand more multimedia content, the fact that you have images, video and real-time content will become more and more important to those who are researching you. Hiring managers who look you up on the Web can get a true 3-D view of who you are and what you have to offer through the power of multimedia — 3-D personal branding. That means Flickr, YouTube and Twitter will become even more important. And new tools that integrate all forms of media will become available.
For personal branding, multimedia is critical. It provides the opportunity to build emotional connections with people who are making decisions about you. A picture is worth a thousand words and video delivers a complete communication. Those who make the most of this will stand out from their peers and get the job.
4. Personal Portals
Many of you have spent time in the past several years creating a LinkedIn profile, building a blog, creating a Twitter bio, friending on Facebook, etc. This has fractured your brand to various sites all over the web. There’s the Facebook you, the YouTube you and the Twitter you, etc. Each person who connects with you via one of these sites sees only one facet of the gem that is your brand. This has made it challenging to provide the complete story about who you are and what you do.
Personal portals, such as about.me and flavors.me, comprise a new category of online tools that allow you to link all the different facets of your brand in one place. They let you create one customizable Web page that connects all your profiles from various social networks. This allows you to develop a custom design using your personal brand identity system (color, fonts, images, etc.) to serve as your personal home page.
Your personal portal can be the one place you reference on your resume to get hiring managers to learn about you. The plethora of personal portals portends the end of personal brand schizophrenia.
Visibility is important in personal branding; credibility is even more important. One of the best ways to build credibility is to have others speak for you. The ‘Like’ feature has been a part of sites such as YouTube and blogging software for a long time. LinkedIn has provided the opportunity to get recommendations from network members for years. Some users of the online 360Reach personal branding assessment (Disclosure: 360Reach was developed by my company) have told me that they bring their 360Reach report to job interviews to show hiring managers the feedback they have received from managers and colleagues. Soon, there will be a number of services that focus primarily on reviewing professionals. Think of these services as TripAdvisor for people.
Angie’s List allows you to evaluate and recommend service providers, Lawyers.com provides peer review information and Honestly.com allows you to anonymously evaluate your Facebook friends and LinkedIn network members.
Recommendations and testimonials have always been a part of the job search process. Now, there will be a new class of tools that will make reviewing and evaluating reviews easy.