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The 5 “Cs” That Will Strengthen Our Personal Brand On The Internet

The 5 “Cs” That Will Strengthen Our Personal Brand On The Internet

Whether we like it or not (and whether we know it or not), we all have a brand on the Internet.  It has become common for employers, potential business partners, and even potential relationship partners to “Google” us, and find out what the Internet says about us, before engaging in any form of relationship.

When it comes to our “online brand”, Chris Anderson, best selling author of the Long Tail and former editor of Wired Magazine, has famously noted:

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Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is

The strength of our brand can be one of the key determining factors when it comes to our business success, and it can also impact the job and career opportunities that come our way.

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There are 5 specific ways (the 5 “Cs”) that we can strengthen our personal brand on the Internet, starting today.

1. Create Unique Content

First, we have to commit to becoming a “content creator.”  What does this mean?  It means that on a regular basis, whether it be through blogging, writing guest articles on other blogs, creating videos, sharing pictures, or some other form of unique content, we are sharing things that we have created that, in some way, add value to others.  Value is subjective, but the nature of what we create will reflect what we are “known for.”  If we consistently create informative and inspiring content that helps people in their lives, we will be known for that.  So start with asking this question: “what do I want to be known for?”  Then go out and start creating content in that area.

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2. Join Relevant Communities

We can strengthen our personal brand by establishing ourselves in online communities that are relevant to our interests.  There are lots of ways to get “engaged” in communities.  We can join Facebook and LinkedIn groups.  We can also participate in popular forums relating to our interests. In addition, we can participate in relevant blogs.  It is important that when we join these communities we have a link back to our website, LinkedIn profile or other social media profile, so that people can get to know us, and also see the unique content that we are creating (see Point 1).

3. Contribute to Interesting Discussions

This is a really important one. Our contribution is what will help us to become part of a community, and also to establish real connections with others in that community (more to come on that point). When we contribute to interesting discussions on relevant group pages, blogs or forums, we need to make sure that the contribution is meaningful.  One of the annoying things that I find in the world of online marketing is what I call “selfish contribution.” Where someone will post a comment, but it is clear that they haven’t really read the article that they are posting about.  They are just trying to establish a backlink and direct attention away from the discussion, and back to them and their blog / product / etc.  If you’re going to contribute, then really contribute.  Be present.  Make it meaningful. That is how you will attract others to you.

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4. Make Real Connections

When you join relevant communities and make positive contributions, you will soon establish new connections.  Be open to them.  If people comment on your blog, then thank them for their contribution and provide a comment back.  But don’t make connections just to “pad your numbers.” This isn’t meaningful, and the search engines are smart enough to know the difference between a “fake” like, follower or friend and a real one.  Also, don’t be afraid to reach out, whether it be in the form of tweeting, email, LinkedIn requests, etc. to people who you admire and you’d like to connect with.  I have made numerous positive connections over the years by tweeting authors who I admire and respect, and thanking for them for their latest book (note: only after I have actually read the book).  When you give a sincere compliment, and it is clear that you don’t have selfish intentions, your positivity is often reciprocated.  However, and this is very important:  DON’T SPAM PEOPLE.  It is annoying.  It doesn’t work, and it won’t help your personal brand.

5. Cooperate By Sharing Interesting Links, Videos, and Articles

It isn’t all about you and what you’ve created.  Share the unique content of others.  If you read an article that is really good, and related to what you are interested in, then share it.  Use multiple social networks to do so.  If you come across a video (whether it’s humorous or inspiring) related to your area of interest, share it!  Over time you will also gain a reputation as not only someone who creates positive content (Point 1) but also as a “facilitator” of unique and positive content.  You will be known as someone “worth knowing” because of what you consistently share.

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Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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