Originally posted on @erwwpr’s flagship blog.
Looking to boost your PBI (personal brand index) and secure that dream job or snag some new clients? Now that we’ve entered an age in which a solid personal brand strategy is as important as a lack of typos on your résumé, the name of the game is no longer self-promotion but self-curation.
We live in a world where privacy has been left for dead. Though the inevitable social network fatigue sets in as we read yet another update about the truffled mac and cheese your college roommate ate for dinner or the latest playlist your ex is listening to on Spotify, it’s sink-or-swim time for those who are reluctant to share and share some more. And while you’re doing all that sharing, it’s important to note that more people are looking at your various musings and updates and video postings than ever before.
With all these eyes on your life, you can give your PBI a shot of adrenaline by showing the world what you want them to see—with a mindfulness that will help take you where you want to go. If you’re looking to write about food, for instance, posting about truffled mac and cheese is a pretty good idea. If you’re looking to change careers and do something visual, Pinterest should be your go-to when it comes to your very personal and uniquely curated and well-crafted version of life.
Self-curation can seem daunting as we seemingly post every thought we have, tweet every time somebody cuts us off on the highway (P.S. Don’t tweet and drive), and pin every photo of everything we find pleasing, pretty or appealing. But lest you think you are oversharing, remember this: Self-curation can have a higher, more mindful purpose. It’s not just about frivolity and who’s dating whom; social media has replaced the camera as the way to record your life and preserve everything you want to remember. It’s also a great chance to get the word out about your personal brand: How you see, what you see, where you see it and when you see it are all part of what is pumping life into that PBI.
If you’re turning up your nose at why this stuff is more important than fine-tuning your traditional résumé, check out this statistic: As of March, Pinterest had 11.1 million users and counting. That’s a lot of eyes on your curated world—not to mention the now usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (although continually updating your profiles is a must), with networks such as Google+ (at more than 100 million users) gaining ground as well. And when you think of consumer brands these days, can you imagine many that don’t have a social media strategy in place? The art of self-curation is the perfect tool for success in this newfound “me” generation (Brand Me, that is), so get to it—that Klout score isn’t going to rise by itself.
It’s not just about boosting your brand to potential employers, though. Personal brands can benefit from the balance that comes with doing something for a cause you believe in versus doing something for a paycheck. Today’s best personal brands are well-rounded individuals who understand the value of being a great employee and a great volunteer. It’s something we see consumer brands noting as well through increased CSR activity.
In a recent global study, Euro RSCG Worldwide found that 70 percent of millennials believe the most successful companies in the future will practice sustainability. “In an earlier global survey,” says Naomi Troni, ERWW’s global chief marketing officer, “more than 90 percent of young people said the world needs to be changed, and more than 80 percent said it is the responsibility of their generation to bring about that change.” Corporate social responsibility is exploding in our very transparent age—no good deed goes unnoticed, and the workforce to watch, the millennials, wants to change the game when it comes to making a difference.
A 360-degree personal brand strategy includes community involvement, so take some time to get off social media networks and do some face-to-face networking in your very own backyard. And make sure to note on your LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed or Facebook page the causes you are aligned with. Featuring your personal social responsibility actions will showcase your passions and offer up your much-needed skills to causes that might need your help. If you’ve made your living in PR and animals are a passion, see if your local Humane Society needs help with media relations or publicity. If you’re a graphic designer, perhaps your local homeless shelter can use your design skills to create signage for an event.
Tread lightly, though, when it comes to overtly political issues. You might want to save your thoughts for your more intimate circle of friends, unless, of course, you are looking for a job in government.
Whatever cause or mission makes your heart sing, get involved. You might even find your true calling along the way.