Self-assessment is key to branding

One of the buzziest of buzz phrases right now is “personal branding.”  The phrase is generally used to refer to online activities that are brought together to create a cohesive statement about the person who is doing the branding.  It typically involves use of social media and sharing networks and encourages things like consistent profile naming, participatory online activities and message control.

These are all solid activities that I agree can be incorporated into the career strategy of anyone out there (and absolutely should be incorporated for some).

But, what I’m not seeing enough of in this conversation is the self-assessment and introspection that should be the driving force behind these activities.   As was so eloquently stated by J.T. O’Donnell at CAREEREALISM, “You can’t even begin to brand yourself if you don’t know who you are and what you have to offer to employers” (first video on that page).  This is an absolutely vital step that is not just the heart of personal branding, it’s the heart of career development in general.

So, while I encourage everyone to pursue the online personal branding activities that make sense for them, don’t forget the most important part — know yourself.  Fully explore your values, interests and goals.  Only then can you make strides toward an online personal brand that has meaning.

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