As a career professional, to grow your career, you must be very intentional about your personal brand, online and your digital footprint. The things you post online would shape your online personal brand and your digital footprint, and then your career, inevitably. These things are what Employers / Potential Clients would see, if they check you out, whether at the early stages in your interview or at the offer stages when running checks on you.
A lot of times when you are being interviewed for more senior positions, your digital footprint is scanned. They check for online trolling, affiliations, and your personal brand digital footprint. I know this area very well.
What you post online, will somehow always be online and those things can make or break you, in your career (business or job) journey.
Let’s See Context (Corporate Job)
I recently got a call from someone trying to move to office based/flexible professional career from their current role as a Qualified Health Practitioner. The people they interviewed with told them that they checked them out and they are a Director of an NGO. While they liked them, the Employer was worried if would they have the time to focus on the job they have applied for. I told this person, in your next conversation with them, FOCUS on demonstrating to the Employer that while you are involved in doing so many other things, like being a Director of your NGO etc., the VALUE you would bring to their organisation would be enormous. For example, your skills of leadership & creativity doing those other things would be an advantage to their organization. They got HIRED!
I am not surprised, because they have a clean digital footprint and what they do is in no conflict of interest for the brand of this organization. All in all, their digital footprint is not bad at all.
If when they were checked out online, the employer saw things that are negative, trust me, they would have been told, “well, you were very good at the interview and the interviewers liked you BUT we had stronger candidates” – this could be the case for the longest time.
Let’s See Context (Self-Employed / Freelancer)
I read an article on Facebook of someone who got hired for a Design job. The company who invited them to the interview asked them when they got to the meeting to check out their Facebook page. The company wanted to see what they share. After checking their page, they were offered the job. Sincerely, do you think that the person would have been brought in if the organsiation hadn’t previously checked out their page. NO, they wouldn’t have. They just wanted to confirm what they had previously seen. Know this, brands and people like to ALIGN with people whose personal brand and digital footprint is clean.
You see, whether in a corporate job or self-employment / business, your Online Personal Brand and Your Digital Footprint Matters. Depending on what you post, LinkedIn for example categorises based on your area of interests / things you post. For example, your profile could be categorised to post on #career #motivation #wellness #wellbeing, #technology, #finance, #diversityandinclusion #etc. What you talk about the most is how you would be profiled, online. I know for sure that I am profiled to talk about #career #Careersuccess #Motivation #Inpsiration #Mum #HR #Emergingtalents Coaching #YouTube.
In my near new job in a Fortune 500 Consultancy company where I work in HR, these are the things they know me by. I didn’t have to hide anything or lie about it at interview stages, it is what I stand for, in and outside of the corporate workplace. In fact, I once shared a post about when I met the MD of my business area, who was keen to meet me after she was told that I achieved a big business milestone in 30 days of joining the organisation. When they met me, they said, I have been told you have YouTube where you share some contents, tell me about it and I did. It was a lovely conversation, an opportunity to share my WHY for starting and what I have been able to achieve using same medium. They liked it; I could tell.
Between 2020 – 2021, I have received more emails than I have ever received in my lifetime of being a Creator online. People have written to me from everywhere – Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, USA, New Zealand, UK, India etc. They reached out not because they know me, they reached out because of what my digital footprint tells them. In September of 2021, I taught a free private class on “Q4 Goal Setting & Ending 2021 SMART”, and in that class, I met one of my “coachees” for the first time, even though before then, I have coached them through redundancy to temporary role to permanent role and then to promotion in less than 11 months. All my conversations and coaching with them was by phone because it was best suited to them. While I was only meeting them for the first time on that day, I have been connected to them because of my digital footprint (what they saw online of me) and my personal brand (what I stand for).
As a Creative and Storyteller, I am a BIG FAN of Freedom of Expressions, but I would say, BEFORE you post anything online think about it first. Consider Asking Yourself:
If I post this online, will I add any value with this post?
If I post this online, will it boost/strengthen my personal brand?
If I post this online, what effect would it have on my readers/audience: feel good, laughter, motivation, happiness, education etc.
If I post this online, will I be worried about the effect of it?
If I post this online, will I sabotage my chances of missing out on opportunities?
And more. Before you post it, ask yourself if it is worth it.
In this fast past technology age, your career (business / job), influence and reach would grow exponentially if you would manage your personal brand and digital footprint well. So, I would say, be intentional about your online personal brand and digital footprint.
You can build a strong Personal Brand, whether you have a “micro” audience / following like me, contributing to make a change in the world and influence people with my skills, experience and talents, or a mega audience like (think of a name of someone making change in the world). To learn how to build a strong personal brand, please check out the video below. It was one I made for a Global Mum Community in 2020 about Building Your Personal Brand Using Social Media:
Please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below about the post or how you have use personal branding to build your career. Need help on your Career Journey, please email me today with tagline: Coach ME to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to COACH ME