This Spring I was teaching a Dynamics CRM course at Minnesota State University Moorhead and we got into a discussion of personal branding and what you [as a college student] should think about.
I realize that a lot of this could apply to others as well, so I’m reposting it here.
I wanted to complete the circle on a conversation we had in class one day regarding personal branding. Here are a few thoughts you might wish to consider as you progress in your career:
Internet Domain Name:
You should try and secure your own domain name. It should be some combination of your first, middle, and last names, such as:
Start off trying for a .com address, but those are more than likely gone. There are many other options but the most popular are .me, .name, .net, and .info.
It is not necessary to actually put up a web site at this point, you just need to keep someone else from using your name. You can actually put it to use when you create your blog (as we’ll take about in a minute).
Your Twitter handle also needs to be a variation of your name, and is possible, try and make it be the same as your domain name.
Your LinkedIn profile needs to read and look like a well–polished resume and should include a photo of yourself in a professional setting. Not on the beach drinking an adult beverage. LinkedIn profiles also need to be kept up to date so that they always reflect your current status and accomplishments. I can’t tell you how many times I have had people comment, “…on your LinkedIn profile.”
What about Facebook, you might ask? Well, and this is just a professional opinion, but I only use Facebook for my friends and family. If you would like to establish a company presence on Facebook, it is quite easy to create a Facebook Page. Again, it is on Facebook and connected to you, but also separate at the same time.
At some point you will have to have a blog – or several, if you are like me. Everyone has something to say and quite honestly, the world is a better place when people share what they know. My basic rule has always been: If it takes me more than 30 minutes to find it or create it, and if it is not of strategic value to either me (or my company) or my customer, then I’ll write something about the experience. Sometimes the articles are lengthy and take quite a while to produce, while others are just a few minutes work. Both can be valuable to someone who has run into the same issue that you did.
There are several blog engines available, but I use WordPress for all of my sites. I made this decision back in 2005–6 and I can quite honestly say that I have never regretted the decision. It is infinitely customizable and almost all of the major (and minor) web–hosting providers offer WordPress hosting.
When it comes to content, there are really two kinds of blogs: Personal and Professional. Some people combine these two and offer only a single type of content, while others keep their personal and professional lives separate. I personally started off with a single blog then split off my personal thoughts and articles and put them under a new blog that was just “me.” My main blog I just use for technical writing at this point. At some point you may need to make this decision for yourself, depending on what you have to say.
I would also advise you listening the following podcasts: