05
Sep 14

Developing your Professional Digital Identity

Each semester when I teach my marketing Capstone course, the students engage in a semester long process to build up their personal brand. We call it the PDI or Professional Digital Identity. Throughout the years it has been updated and tweaked a bit, but has primarily stayed focused on helping our graduating seniors show their expertise not just in digital marketing tools, but also in content development, while highlighting their passions and interests.

The results of their work have been outstanding and many students have been able to secure internships and jobs because of what they practiced and learned through this assignment. Just see for yourself and look back over the years on this blog by reading the #ccc410mkt tag.

I’m quite passionate about this particular project and over the years have seen first hand just how important it is for students to complete this work. And yet, at the same time, I see how it is becoming even more important for most individuals to take a hard look at their online identity and make sure it reflects them in a way that will help them professionally.  Don’t believe me? Check out this handy infographic posted at UndercoverRecruiter from Reppler that tells an important HR story:

How Employers Use Social Media to Screen Applicants

So here are five things I think everyone should do to develop their own PDI. Oh, and if you want to see what my students are required to do just take a look at the PDI assignment guidelines.

  1. Google yourself. You might be surprised by what you find.
  2. Assess your current social media content and “professionalize” it. Delete content that could get you overlooked, add content that will spark employer interest. Be sure to maximize the security and privacy settings on tools like Facebook and take control of the content that is posted about you.
  3. Make it easy for people to find you. Pick a username and use it across all your social profiles. Put links to all of your online content sites on all of your online content sites. For example from this blog you can find all of the social accounts I am active on. From my LinkedIn you can find my blog, from my G+ you can find all my accounts as well as my blog.
  4. Pick one or two online tools to create content with — and build quality content about yourself. A blog is a great way to start, but if you don’t feel you have time for that, then use Twitter, or tools like Medium to create smaller, more manageable content, or go visual with Prezi, or Instagram, or Pinterest. Make sure you do put quality effort into LinkedIn.
  5. Build your network. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Klout to find people to follow, read, and connect with. Share great content. Try to meet people in person when you can. Participate in Tweetchats that have to do with your chosen field.

It’s not hard to do, but in today’s digital workplace it’s becoming even more vital that you have a Professional Digital Identity that will help you … not hinder you. Want to see how you stack up? Try this handy PDI Rubric I created for my students.

Oh, and as a special BONUS: take a look at Brandyourself.com for a handy way to increase the visibility of several of your online profiles for free. You can also take a look at Reppler to help you as well.