Thursday, February 26, 2009

Personal Branding

I was supposed to present at BarCamp Delhi this weekend, but won't be able to, due to my health issues. I decided to add this post for those who are still interested in learning more about the topic. This is just part one, a brief overview, of the topic. More in subsequent posts. Feel free to comment - I will be glad to address your questions in a follow up post.

Personal Branding is building your online persona to achieve the goals you've set for yourself. Think of yourself as a product. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? You know yourself better than anything else and are an expert on who you are and what you can contribute to society. More and more employers are googling potential employees before making their final decision. Google yourself and see what shows up. Set up a google alert with your name so every time a new page with your name is cached, you are notified.

Establish Goals
Figuring out how to present yourself online is first, about spending a little time deciding on what you want to receive from your online activity. For some people, it's a way to express themselves creatively, for others it's a way to establish themselves as an expert in their field and furthering their career. Once you figure out what you want to accomplish, everything else becomes much more clear.

Picking the Right Social Media
Once your goals are established, the selection of the correct social media is critical. If, say, your goal is finding an accounting job in Canada, perhaps Orkut is not the first place to put your profile. Examine niche networks to find like minded individuals, for example, if you're looking for design work, adding your profile to networks devoted purely to designers, would be a better choice. Adding your portfolio to sites like flickr or picasa are also a good choice. If you're a poet or a screenwriter, there are networks just for you.

Blogs are always appropriate and an easy way to establish your place on the internet. If you are looking for work, HEED THESE WORDS. Take your blog seriously. every time you hit "Publish", be sure that what you've written could be presented in a job interview. Perfect spelling and perfect grammar will always count.

Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin may also be appropriate based on what your goals are.

Marketing Yourself & Your Online Presence
Once you have a few posts online, get yourself to technorati, mybloglog, blogcatalog and stumbleupon and register your blog. Get yourself a google analytics code and install it on your blog. Become familiar with other bloggers in your area of expertise. If you are designer, find other bloggers who write about design. Comment on their blogs and follow them. Engage with like-minded individuals. Not only will you learn more about your area of interest, but you will be connecting with others. Let people know what your goals are. If you are looking for work, let the right people know... No one will know if you don't tell them. Just be careful who you share that information with - you may not want your current employer to know that you are actively job hunting for that accounting position in Canada.

Make sure your signatures on email, forums, and all other areas where you post online links to your online presence. Mine is:
Jeanne Heydecker
Blog - American in Delhi:
Blog - American in Calcutta:
Facebook Profile:
Linkedin Profile:
Follow me on Twitter:

As you achieve your goals, your reasons for having an online presence will change. After finding that job, you may want to adjust what your blog discusses, or maybe morph your profiles into another area of interest. As a human being, what you want to share at 20 will be distinctly different than what you share at 30 or 40. As your career changes, it may end up being more about the management issues instead of the actual development of software - it may change completely to what you do after you sell your company and become a VC or a consultant. You can always close a blog and start another, but bottom line, it's still out there in the ether and someone, somewhere has that content. It never goes away.

My good buddy Scott Jones, a computer forensics expert, told me one day, "Never put anything online that you couldn't say in a court of law in front of your mother." I firmly believe that. (Plus my mum suffers from potty mouth, too.)

What Not to Do - Why is This Blog Different From My Previous Blog About Kolkata?

The Kolkata blog was not the real me. Because I was the "face" of 123greetings and it was read by many of the people at work, I couldn't be the real me and the real me is tougher, more confrontational, sarcastic, funny and much more of a challenge to your own sense of intelligence. I think that's why Yu Yu and I get along the way we do. :-) She's the only person here who isn't intimidated by me in one way or the other...

This blog is more personal. I'm not branding myself or using it for any other purpose than to document certain aspects of my life. I'm not just an internet marketer. I have other passions and I want to write about them my way. I am fast approaching the half century mark of my life and need to figure out what is it that I want to do with the remainder of my life and I'm not sure what that is. With this health crisis, I have to make some significant lifestyle changes. I have a career to be proud of and maybe this blog is a way for me to just vent. It's not politically correct and at this stage in my life, time is too short for being polite.

Share your tips on how you have established your presence and what's worked for you. It would be great to share. :-)

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  1. I hope you are feeling okay.

  2. I'm feeling much better. I contracted Hepatitis from what appears to be the office coffee I drank during the night shift (I must have had a full pot all by myself each night). I never really felt that bad through this, but I was REALLY yellow and my liver and spleen were enlarged. None of the other symptoms, like being nauseous, vomiting, weight loss [;-(], etc. happened to me. I was just really tired, more than anything else.

    My doctor is still refusing to allow me back to work. I have to go back Wednesday (Holi) to the clinic for another series of liver function blood tests. The doctor is emphatic that I cannot go back to my regular night shifts, and my boss says there can be no change, so... we'll see what happens later this week.

    Something's gotta give. Thanks for the kind words. :-)