There may never have been a more crucial time to consider our reputation and reach; social networking sites shrink the world, while also acting as an unrestricted amplifier. We have to be careful about what we are putting out there.

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Whether you are employed, self employed or looking for something new, your personal brand is key. One unassailable fact is that visibility has become increasingly important.

Competition for business has never been more fierce and if you want to be noticed - for the right reasons, you might like to consider what it is you are actually saying.

Everything we do and say projects a personal brand.

Your personal brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.

So what is your personal brand saying about you?

Given that recruiters have their pick of the best and business is often conducted on personal preference, it makes complete sense to take your personal brand seriously. Moreover it has to be authentic, others will always spot a fake.

It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it. Take Jamie Oliver for example. He’s a fantastic chef of course, but he is so much more - he is a media guru - and we love him. Although he has a raft of people working hard on his behalf, his personal brand and endorsement is what sells.

If your personal brand needs a revamp I would suggest the following actions:-

Step 1. Focus on what you want to be known for. Think Apple - a great example of succinct branding - mimicked my many; Apple is cutting edge but fun, accessible and constantly surpassing our expectations.

Step 2. Consider whether you are trying to cover too many bases and as a consequence taking your eye off the ball? If you are confused about what you are doing so is everyone else. Far better to do a couple of things really well than a handful of things not quite so well.

Step 3. Mission statements and elevator speeches aside, if you had to sum up what you do and what makes you different from the herd - what would you say? Try saying it out loud to yourself - would you buy you?

Step 4. Put yourself in the position of someone who does not know you and take a long hard look at yourself on line - blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and everywhere else - what is it all saying - is it saying the right thing for you and your business? If not, think about what you discovered in Step 3.

Step 4. Consider your online presence as your personal equity - and the management of you on line - take it seriously.

Step 5. Probably the most important of all - be authentic. A strong personal brand can be an inspiration for you as well as others - and work for you to achieve your ambitions. You are in charge of your personal brand, you are your own CEO - and it pays to take it seriously.

Mary-Jane Kingsland is a Business Coach and Mentor. You can contact her at mj@maryjanekingsland.co.uk

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