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Personal Branding: Assuming the Reins of ME.com

You don’t have to be a breakfast cereal to be a brand (though if it helps to think of yourself as Cap’n Crunch to get the job done, go for it). You don’t have to be Kanye or Donald Trump, either. We’re all brands, you see, the lot of us, packaging our own particular basket of talents and traits up and peddling them to the employer-facing world at large in pursuit of our professional dreams. And career advisors everywhere suggest that thinking of ourselves in these terms is nothing short of the cleverest approach to job-hunting in this most unprecedented of day-and-ages.

So go ahead and regard yourself as a company, appoint yourself its chief executive officer and fall to the business of polishing its brand. By taking sole command of your personal profile thus, you deprive everyone else of doing likewise. And the sole oversight of ME.com becomes your business alone — a precious commodity when it comes to tracking down a job.

Some brand-building tips:

Remember that you’re a product, and a valuable one, at that. Present throughout this exercise should be the fierce conviction that you’re the most esteemed supplier of your particular gifts.

• Identify your expertise. Be as precise as possible in the inventory of your particular qualifications and skills. By listing your most remarkable personal traits and considering what unique contributions only you can make to your world, you single out the critical qualities that define you. Further, you establish yourself as an “expert” in an area — always a desirable label to have attached to your name.

Determine what you stand for. Consider your causes, your convictions, your personal collection of beliefs. These differentiating essentials play big into the brand you create.

• Start a blog. There’s no better way to deliver a steady stream of brand-affirming material than to maintain a busy blog. Keep the place hopping. The more Web-based content there is on your brand, the easier it is to find you. And make it easy for people to share your content with WordPress plugins.

Use social media. Certainly your would-be employer is using the stuff to check up on you — why shouldn’t you behave similarly with your brand-building advantage? Optimize your LinkedIn account and tie in Facebook, Twitter, your blog and other social network feeds.

Be consistent. Each and every interface your brand makes with a potential “customer” (i.e., a potential employer) must support the same message. Every touchpoint is a further show of reinforcement for your brand.

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