I attended a meeting of HR executives not too long ago to talk about social media’s use in recruiting candidates. At lunch I had the chance to talk with several about “personal branding” and found that they all thought it was a load of garbage.
I keep reading about your “personal brand” from people who stand to gain from the concept. In reality, there is no such thing as personal branding, there is only your reputation among colleagues and friends.
I have always tried to let my work be my “brand”. When I have successfully completed a project I always ask myself “how could I have done better?” and “what did I learn from the experience?”. I try an solicit feedback on my performance, in person, because it’s important to understand what’s being said and not being said via body language.
If you really believe in your personal brand than you are not being true to yourself. While I believe that there are some things everyone should withhold from social media you have to be able to say that our current President is a joke if that’s what you believe. When you start to worry about how your beliefs will interfere with your personal brand you’re heading down a path towards selling your soul.
Sure HR people might check your facebook posts or tweets and you shouldn’t do something stupid, but saying what you REALLY believe and feel is part of who you are not the concept of a personal brand which is essentially false advertising.
Be yourself because everyone else is taken. When searching for a new job ensure that it’s a place where you can be yourself and grow, not an atmosphere where you have to live in a fake storefront.