Tag Archives: Seth Godin

Personal Branding: Good or Bad?

In today’s world of social media, personal branding has become an interesting and debatable concept. Individuals now have to be aware of their online image because consequently, potential employers can find incriminating information that can affect an individual’s employment. To this end, personal branding may appear negative as people become comparable to products ready to be sold. Yet despite these images, I don’t think personal branding is a bad thing in this day and age. Sure, more caution must be taken in what material we publish about ourselves, but in some ways, it levels the playing field for people seeking out the same positions.

As an introvert with little work experience under my belt, finding a job or even securing an interview after receiving my B.A. was difficult. I’ve look at my resume and become demoralized. I can’t get a job because I have no experience. I can’t gain experience because I can’t get a job. It’s a Catch-22. Though with social media and the idea of personal branding making headway, my situation has looked up.

I’m an avid Twitter user and in the two years between the end of my undergraduate days and the start of my graduate ones, I’ve been building my brand. In a face-to-face situation, my brand is indistinguishable in the first, second, or even third meeting. Shy, I have the inability to formulate what I want to say. I make the worst first impressions. While I may have trouble articulating things aloud, I have no trouble at all writing it down. That’s because I’m a writer.

In comes Twitter. I’m able to brand myself with my words, both in my brief bio and my tweets. Though I’m a writer, I’m actually more than that. I brand myself as a running and fitness fanatic and a literature enthusiast (from classics to mysteries, from philosophy to comics). In addition, I engage in conversations with runners and writers. My tweets also give me a personality, such as being witty and a workaholic (as described by friends). Building my brand has been useful, going so far as being offered a staff writer position because of what I tweeted and the blog link attached to my profile.

Thus I’ve found that personal branding can be beneficial, but it’ll depend on the industry you want to work in and the type of person you are. The way I see it, each of us have always possessed a brand. It just wasn’t as easily accessible and visible face-to-face as it is today online.

I agree with William Arruda and Chris Brogan that we need to make ourselves stand out and manage our own careers. As Brogan writes, “A personal brand gives you the ability to stand out in a sea of similar products. In essence, you’re marketing yourself as something different than the rest of the pack”. Seth Godin takes a different standpoint. He says we shouldn’t see ourselves as brands, but as people. He dislikes “branding”, but what he does emphasize is that we’re entering a world where we can be people again. What I take from this is that personal branding, regardless of the term, is now about being who you genuinely are, not what you want yourself to be. Godin may be slightly cynical to the phrase “branding”, but he does stress the same idea that Arruda and Brogan employ.

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