Whether you’re a learning and development (L&D) leader, individual contributor, or contractor, you’re likely seeing a mix of contract workers and full-time employees as part of everyday operations.
According to research by Staffing Industry Analysts, by the year 2020, 40 percent of all employment will be gig work; and a LinkedIn study states an even higher estimate (43 percent). The Gig Economy is here.
Competition for internal roles and promotions will be fiercer, because it’s not only internal candidates vying for roles, but contractors too. Maintaining your personal brand is a must-do for today’s career management, not a luxury.
What’s Personal Branding and Why Is It Important?Personal branding is the process individuals and entrepreneurs use to stand out for career success.
Think about personal branding as your career reputation. Your reputation is currency, whether you’re vying for a raise or promotion or you’re a consultant looking for your next gig. Being known nets results.
Instead of being concerned about employees with stellar personal brands leaving, employers should encourage employees to build strong personal brands because it’s good business. According to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, “Employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder; 41 percent of us believe that employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business.”
How Will You Stand Out and Get Noticed?In CTDO magazine, I wrote about my five-step plan to help you take control of your personal brand. Once you’ve identified how you wish to be known and what you wish to be known for, your next move is to make it happen. With the Gig Economy and a global marketplace, it’s important to be more visible and proactive not only internally, but externally as well.
Have you Googled yourself lately? Others have! Whether you’re speaking at a conference, meeting a new contact, or hiring a new employee, chances are, they’ve researched your name online. What will they find?
Search your name. Was what you found how you wish to be perceived for your career today? Or do you have digital dirt—outdated information, off-putting content, or off-brand content? Just as bad is finding nothing at all. If you’re invisible in online searches, how will people know you exist?
In my programs, I ask the audience to do a quick search on their name. Once, an audience member blurted, “Oh my gosh, I’m in jail!” Of course, she wasn’t; she was in the front row, but someone with her exact name was incarcerated. She’d had no idea this is what people would find when searching her name. Check yourself; you don’t want to be surprised.
Boost Your Online VisibilityTake control of what people find when searching your name online. Decide which social networking platforms are best for your career goals and your personal brand. While other gurus may tell you to be on all the latest platforms, managing so many platforms while working full-time or running your consulting practice can be overwhelming. Instead, identify the top three platforms your target audience (those who need to know about you) uses most. If you’re not sure and can choose only one platform, my recommendation is LinkedIn. LinkedIn typically lands on page one of an online search.
Consider creating your own online hub of information about yourself. Social media changes rapidly; jumping on the latest platform might not be the right move for you. Case in point: Blab. Blab, which enabled simultaneous videocasts, was a hot new platform—and it shut down with little notice. Its members lost hundreds of hours of recordings. When you own your domain online, you can control the content. If you don’t already own your name as a domain name, grab it now. (Example: www.wendyterwelp.com.) Doing so means you can create a personal hub for your content. That way, when a search is conducted on your name, it’s not just LinkedIn that comes up on page one, but your personal domain with your best material.
Repurposing Saves You TimeRepurpose online activities for maximum efficiency and consistency. For example, you can use a paragraph from a piece you’ve already written and repost it to social media with a link to the story. Use timesaving tools, like Hootsuite, to schedule social media posts in advance for consistency and constancy, while remaining active on social media for real-time communication.
Even while you enjoy the convenience of scheduling tools, real-time engagement is still important. Communicating in real time increases engagement and builds community. To avoid being overwhelmed, schedule your time. Provide valuable and helpful content that will benefit your network. And connect by thanking and congratulating others. Meaningful and thoughtful communication goes a long way in building positive relationships.