A Personal Brand Audit!
Linda Coles’ latest book is called: “Start with Hello” (Wiley) and talks about meeting more people you don’t currently know. It also shows you why your personal brand is important. Recently, Linda wrote a fabulous piece on LinkedIn about how you should perform a personal audit on your professional brand. What is the professional persona you want to project into the world? Think about it…how do you want others to perceive you?
We have more control than we capitalize on so take a look at this self-audit and see how you score!
1. Voice-mail message.
Do you have the same message as everyone else “I’m sorry I’m not able to take your call….” or do you change it regularly depending on what is happening? For instance, if you are at a conference in New York, you might say something like “Today I’m listening to Jack Welch at a conference for business leaders in New York so I will attend to your message in the next break….” Do you think the caller will be impressed with your message and at you for taking the time to keep yourself up skilled? I think so. It’s also just more interesting.
2. Your email signature.
Make it easy for people to get hold of you, so think about including your telephone numbers, your address, your website url, and links to your relevant social channels such as your LinkedIn profile. Some like to include a small head and shoulders photo of themselves, which is particularly useful for when you meet for the first time as its good to know who’s who in the meeting.
3. LinkedIn profile.
Having a link from your email signature to your LinkedIn profile means that you must have a robust profile on show. At the very least, have an up to date photo, a descriptive professional headline, and a great summary of what you do and why someone should use you. Not having a profile up, or only having a half-baked one, will make you look unfinished or like a dinosaur.
4. Email content
Is your spell check turned on? Sending out an email with spelling mistakes, letters the wrong way round, and bad grammar could make you look less intelligent. Always read your email through slowly before sending it to double check everything is in order. I always add the email address right at the very end so I don’t accidentally send it before I’ve checked it.
5. Business card.
Does it feel good quality fabric or cheap and papery? It’s part of your first impression so be confident when you hand them out. Print your name, title, contact details, social media links and anything else you wish to include. Don’t be afraid to use both sides, its prime brand real estate so use it but keep it professional.
“Always dress just a little bit better” is great advice for any situation. If you are interviewing at a tech company and you know they will all be wearing jeans and T-shirts, then going in a suit and tie might not do you any favors. Instead, dress just a little bit better and wear a great shirt with your crisp jeans and polished footwear. Wear the best footwear you can afford and polish them regularly, people notice.
Of course there are many more areas that form your personal brand such as the way you interact with others, how you perform at work with your bosses and colleagues and what you share publically on Facebook, they all add up to you.
While being yourself, decide how you want to be seen, what you want to be known for and plan to move your personal brand in that general direction. As Jack Welch would say, “plan your general direction, and implement like hell”.
Linda certainly gives actionable tools to evaluate your professional persona. Think about how you want others to perceive you and make it happen – you are in control! Thanks, Linda for this great advice.
With over a decade of career and professional development coaching experience, Caroline Dowd-Higgins has a desire to empower and energize people to achieve their personal goals. Her training style is engaging, high energy, and positive with a focus on unlocking the self-advocate within each of us. Read more from Caroline at carolinedowdhiggins.com.