You may not realize you have an image. And the image that exists for you may not be ideal. The goal of reputation management and personal branding is to intentionally and authentically put together an image that is coherent, consistent and compelling.
What distinguishes your image from your personal brand or reputation? Your image is more diffused. It encompasses much more about you, although it plays a big role in your personal brand and reputation.
You may be very surprised that how you earn your living is the LEAST important aspect of your image.
I have described my new concept to many of my coaching clients, and they are surprised at what matters to recruiters, hiring managers, and even their bosses and co-workers – much less all their contacts.
So I created a simple way for everyone to think about the image we hold in our heads about you and the other people who pass through our lives, businesses, networking events and more.
I – What are you IMPROVING? What can you say you are actively learning about, studying, seeking more information about, and otherwise trying to add to or modify about yourself? Could be something like learning a language. Or something smaller, like learning good manners for cross-cultural business etiquette.
M – What are you MANAGING? What financial matters, education courses, workload, community commitments, family circumstances, and more are under your control? You are your Chief Life Officer, after all. What would we be impressed to know you manage now?
A – What are you ADVISING other people about? What expertise, knowledge, or special skills are you imparting to others? Do you do some informal or formal mentoring? Could you be a resource on a topic that another person or business needs to know about? Do you use social media to get out that information for free, or perhaps do you exchange services or even do it for free (right now)?
G – What are you GIVING? Where is your social philanthropy, your cause-oriented work, your support for people in need, pets in need, the planet itself or simply in your own family and community?
E – Finally, how are you EARNING your living? What are the large (and small) jobs you have and have held in the past? Do you do more than one thing? That’s so good for us to hear. Perhaps you hold down a full time job and do freelance work in another field. I have a client who manages a small business, she does bookkeeping for it and another company, plus she is a dance instructor. How impressive is that? That’s real multi-tasking.
When you fail to let us know these great things about you, something’s missing from your image. We may overlook you, just because someone else IS prepared to talk about these major dimensions of their life and personal brand.
Pepper your conversation with all these dimensions of your image. If you want to try out this formula for yourself, just jot down your thoughts for each letter, and send your IMAGE to me at [email protected]. Subject line: IMAGE.