personal branding

Today, more so than ever, your reputation undoubtedly precedes you. With a few swift clicks of the keyboard, people may learn just enough about you to form a first impression. In a world where companies and political campaigns make facebook pages before websites, people network in cyberspace on LinkedIn, and baby’s first photo album is a string of posts on Instagram, it is safe to say that your social media presence is of utmost importance.

Colleges, prospective suitors, colleagues, and employers often take to the Internet upon receiving your application, number, card, or resume. PR Specialists are image shapers and preservers of a positive reputation. Therefore, when pursuing or protecting a career in public relations, it is imperative to carefully finesse your own personal image.

Among the most coveted skills of a successful PR Specialist are polished communication and research abilities, creativity, initiative, tenacity, and good judgment. While each of these traits can be carefully articulated on a resume or during an interview, they are also easily demonstrated via social media activity.

Communication is about both what you say and how you say it. Sure, provocative statements may raise eyebrows, but so too does a poorly written statement. Suffice it to say, spelling and grammar count. Slang and shorthand are also not recommended. Your ability to conduct thorough research can also be exposed in your social media usage. Posting, sharing or liking a blanketed uninformed statement without doing your homework could potentially speak volumes of either your character or your initiative. On the other hand, making an educated comment can encapsulate your ability to look below the surface and gather information from all sides.

The key, however, is not to loose sight of you or to appear too manufactured. One should be self-aware without being self-conscious. Your personal brand should be an actual reflection on your true self. Not every tweet, post, video, like, or picture needs to be deliberately tactful. It is important to convey that you are relatable. Show off your creativity in pictures and videos, and call out your interests by following or liking brands, companies, or persons with whom you share common outlooks.

Do keep in mind that despite certain settings, privacy is not a guarantee on social media. Friends of friends of friends may gain access to your pages. Technology has also made it increasingly difficult to permanently erase all tracings of a misguided statement. Anything you post can and will be used against you. While there are options for deleting, editing, or unliking social media posts, anyone with a Smartphone can take a screenshot of the initial activity and use it for their own agenda.

As the adage goes, lead by example. Promote yourself by conveying the best possible personal image on social media.