Building Your Personal Brand in a Virtual World
By Tara Powers, Author of Virtual Teams for Dummies
According to the World Economic Forum, telework – or remote work – is “one of the biggest drivers of transformation” in the workplace.
This is not news to me. I noticed the explosive growth of virtual teams in my own business years ago. Time after time I watched as companies used the same practices for communication, training, management and technology for virtual teams as they were using for traditional teams whose members are officed in the same location.
Spoiler alert – it wasn’t working.
In this new workplace paradigm, there are many changes both companies and individuals need to make to succeed. I discuss them in detail in my new book Virtual Teams for Dummies. One of the most important changes for remote workers is the importance of building your personal brand. Here is my advice for success in managing your personal brand in a virtual world.
First step: It’s not just a personal brand; it’s a personal virtual brand.
You need to think strategically about your virtual brand because your digital footprint follows you wherever you go, no matter where you are in the world. I recommend doing an audit of your online presence – including your social media footprint (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn). People will make assumptions on your reliability, communication style, professionalism and cultural fit based on what they see and read. Make sure your online presence is consistent with your personal brand.
Second step: Think broadly.
You are no longer connecting with people, businesses and organizations in your back yard, or even within a 50 mile radius. You must outshine people throughout your state, your region and potentially the country. The internet knows no boundaries. It’s time to wrap your head around working globally – and maintaining your global virtual brand.
Third step: Rework that resume.
We all know that the days of the simple one-page printed resume are gone. Today you submit a digital resume for any position in the virtual world. The chief means of assessing your compatibility for the role is by searching your resume for key words related to your skills and experience. It will be one of the first things a company will do to weed out applicants. Therefore you need to get up to speed on the keywords for the position you are seeking and the verbiage for the skills that are trending.
Fourth step: Build your digital online portfolio.
An online portfolio is a great way to expand upon a simple resume and connect with leaders in your industry. Your online portfolio can work well as part of your personal website and it can be used for face-to-face interviews as well as shared online. You don’t need to be a designer, marketer or writer to showcase your work. No matter what you do, an online portfolio can demonstrate the quality of your work, level of expertise, thought leadership and attention to detail and showcase your accomplishments in a highly dynamic and accessible way.
Fifth step: Follow the leader.
Whether you a looking to make a career move or trying to establish yourself as an innovative thought leader in your industry, you need to know who the players are. Make sure you are connecting with organizations, individuals and causes that you admire. The new virtual world makes it so much easier to connect with them by commenting on a recent blog post or news item. Get on their radar by sharing your point of view or tagging them in a blog post of your own.
It’s a great big virtual digital world out there, and you must be vigilant to keep your brand up to date and consistent. If you are interested in learning more about best practices of virtual teams, check out my book Virtual Teams for Dummies. It is packed with practical advice, case studies and ‘how to guides’ to create, manage and be a part of a highly effective virtual team. And of course, it is presented in the signature Dummies style of expert editorial, engaging language and an approachable style. I hope you have a chance to read it and learn from it. I would love to hear your feedback at Tara@PowersResourceCenter.com.
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