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Me 2.0

Dan Schawbel

Business branding: people buy from companies they trust and are willing to pay more for a product or brand they are comfortable with. A reputable brand creates customer loyalty, meaning they don't seek out competitors and they are more forgiving of occasional failings.

The first person to publicly notice the idea of a personal brand was Tom Peters with a 1997 article in Fast Company Magazine The Brand Called You . He said "It's time for me -- and you -- to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that's true for anyone who's interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work. Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."

HR and Recruitment execs routinely use Google, Facebook and LinkedIn to evaluate candidates. It's up to you to make sure that they find lots of positive stuff about you, and that anything negative gets buried.

Brand is everything, and perception is 90% of the brand.

What you can do to make sure the Googlers will find good stuff about you?

1. Set up a web page in your own name - This will eventually become a resume-with-wings - not just a boring C.V but a magazine of what you've done, and more important, what you've learned.

2. Start a blog. Blogger or WordPress make things easy for you. When you begin you'll think you have nothing to say. So, start by cut-and-pasting an article or part of an article that you find on-line. Choose something that is inspiring or thought provoking. Comment on it: if you can't think how to start your comments, use school-essay type starters such as "This made me realize..." "This was just like ....". Browse other blogs and see how others express themselves. Pinch their writings and comment on it.

What are your superiors going to write on your testimonials? Think about that from the day you start - you want them to remember you as:

Productive someone who takes initiative and goes above and beyond current assignment

Organized Avoid being the guy who is ill-prepared, forgetful, late

Focused Don't get caught on Facebook etc while you're at work. Put away the cellphone - everyone who sees you checking it will know your mind's not on the job.

Self sufficient Find mentors or advisors who can be consulted, but don't lean on them. Always work from a viewpoint of "This is the situation and these are the possible strategies I've come up with ... can you see any drawbacks or a better way" rather than a "Help me I'm drowning" bleat.

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Reputation Control .........................................................................................Client William Flew