How portable is your personal brand? As an MBA student you are responsible for the management of your career. Meeting new people, potential coworkers or employers, is becoming easier because of rapidly advancing technology. It is important to manage your personal brand, one that will move with you through your career. The typical MBA student has had some work experience so changing employers and/or jobs isn’t a new experience. As the lines of your personal and professional life begin to blur the opportunity to create components of a non-portable personal brand are possible. One of the ways the Michigan Tech MBA Online program is illustrating their commitment to their current students is through offering personal development seminars within the program.
How do you define a personal brand?
Portable Personal Brand: It is the ability to take your online personal brand assets with you when you move from company-to-company, change careers, change positions, or transition to being an entrepreneur. Essentially the digital characteristics and assets of your personal brand move wherever you go.
Why is this important? Lets start first with career changes. The average person changes careers approximatxely 5-7 based in their lifetime based upon my research. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t provide data on career changes but on the number of jobs a person holds in his/her lifetime (which is 10.8 jobs from ages 18 to 42.) So it is not a matter of if but when you are going to change careers and/or change companies. It is critical that you keep your personal brand portable.
Tips on Creating a Portable Personal Brand
- Personal Branded Social URLs: Always maintain separate personal branded accounts. Your personal social network account URLs should not be tied to the company accounts as the only accounts you have or manage. When you leave a company your accounts should come with you no questions asked, but this can only happen if you own the accounts. In an ideal world you want to bring your pre-existing accounts with you to your place of employment if they are relevant.
- Own Your Network: If the contacts in your network are housed only in the social networks that you rent from there is an inherent risk if your account gets comprised or the terms of service changes. Your network will become more of an asset in the workplace, not necessarily because of numbers but become of influence. Create your own personal database from your social network contacts. You need to have database of contacts. Download and import your contacts into a personal list that you own and manage (Note: If you are tweeting from company accounts legally you don’t own the contact list. Everyone knows there is a difference between contact names and relationships.)
- Set-up Linkedin Profiles Properly: Set up your Linkedin accounts with your own personal email address (i.e. Gmail account). There have been situations where people have been locked out of their accounts because the account was set-up with a corporate email address.
- Own Your Hub (Don’t just rent): Every professional should own the online hub of their personal brand (yourname.dotcom.) Make sure your dot com isn’t linked to your current job (i.e. www.JohnDoeABCEngineering.com)
One of the major benefits of having a portable personal brand that it can be leveraged for future career opportunities. What do I mean by a portable career? Portable careers are job situations that don’t depend on location. The environment is flexible and allows you to do your job remotely. With the development of technology: Skype, WI-FI, and other technologies that allow you to work remotely these types of opportunities are starting to increase. Portable careers will grow in popularity in the future as work changes. The forerunner to this is alternative work arrangements which companies have become more comfortable with as a way to provide a benefit to the company and cut cost when they can’t pay an employee more money.
When is developing a personal brand critical? The answer is now. According to The Infinite Dial 2010 report 48% of American have online social media profiles. Seek an MBA program that understands the value of social media and helps you to apply the career related benefits of engaging online.
How portable is your Personal Brand as an MBA student is totally in your hands?