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Creative Career Path

The Two Way Mirror2009.06.03

    Imagine if your computer screen was a two-way mirror, enabling you to see your own reflection, but also allowing anyone else on the Internet to look at you. Thanks to the power of search engines and social media, this image is close to how it is.


    It is increasingly difficult to close the curtains on your digital identity. However, unless you have a good reason to travel incognito, it is probably to your advantage to be proactive in establishing your personal brand.


    William Arruda in Career Distinction defines personal branding as your GQ (Google Quotient), the degree to which your name exists and is recognized in a positive way on Google. There is an easy way to find out. It is called the Online ID Calculator. It only takes a few minutes, but follow the instructions carefully, and the software will calculate how distinct your identity is online.


    Answer the questions and you get the results in the form of a graph, which plots your position in terms of both volume and relevance. The graph will tell you if you are digitally dissed, dabbling, disastrous, or distinct.


    This can be an important thing to monitor, even if it is only a snapshot of where you are now. Regardless of where you appear on the graph, what ultimately determines your personal brand is where you appear in the minds of your target audience.


    Unless you have devoted time to intentionally establishing your online identity, chances are that it is less than distinct. If you want to do better in your career or business, a distinct online identity gives you a definite advantage.


    Recruiters and prospective employers look online in such places as Linkedin and Facebook to find attractive candidates, and to weed out the less desirable. There are dozens of Social Networking sites where you can post and polish your online profile, photos, videos, comments, and actively participate in an online community.


    A virtual identity is not a substitute for real world relationships, credibility, or character, but it can put your identity in the spotlight. Don’t assume that people will automatically notice and appreciate your finer points if you don’t demonstrate them.


    Your online identity can put forth your point of view or demonstrate your expertise even while you sleep. How much control do you have over this? Almost as much as you want! It is much easier if you break it down to the basic elements. Consider these questions.


    Are you a member of one or more Social Media sites, or do you stay at home?

    Do you have a blog or a website, or is your e-mail your only online address?

    Does your online profile reflect who you really are and want to be, or is boring blah blah?

    Are your online photos professional and attractive, or does your mug shot scare people away?

    Does your online presence show signs of life, or is it more like a digital fossil?

    Are you investing in technology and coaching for your online presence, or do you think you can go places without it?

    Do you have a system for easily updating your online presence, or is it more hit and miss?

    Can you be yourself online and still be professional and presentable, or is it more like shadows without substance?


    You may ask if all of this is really necessary. Social Media and personal branding appeared on the scene just a few short years ago. Didn’t the world get along fine without it before? Perhaps you can do just as well relying on traditional personal qualities such as reputation, experience, and credentials. It may change your perspective if you see that personal branding has not replaced these elements but enhanced them.


    Traditional networking takes time and energy. Traditional media is difficult to access and control. Traditional marketing is expensive and unpredictable. The biggest problem with traditional approaches to personal branding is that it is costly and ephemeral. The traditional way is a bit like talking into the wind. It leaves too faint an impression to be noticed.


    Technology has made it much easier to produce your personal brand, and lowered the cost! Mobility and ease of access have shifted our awareness in favor of Social Media. With more people getting active online, you need to take active steps to ensure that your voice does not fade into the crowd noise.


    The good news is that many of the things which helped you earn a solid reputation are just as valid as before. With a little help from technology, you can still deliver value, keep your promises, and make a contribution, while letting the rest of the world know about it.


    On the Internet we look at ourselves through a two-way mirror. There has never been a better opportunity to engage a larger audience and establish your expertise.


    William Reed

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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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