Forging a Brand for Yourself Online

Forging a personal brand online as a recent college graduate is truly growing more important by the day as unemployment staggers at record highs.

Young professionals, recent college graduates and fellow Generation Y’ers are becoming all too familiar with the trials and tribulations of creating and maintaining a positive online presence for themselves as they struggle to achieve an ideal form of employment, let alone amidst a massive economic recession.

The world is continuing to move away from paper resumes as hiring companies and their employees scour the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and the personal websites of their job applicants in attempt to weed out many young men and women outright who do not display a professional presence across the internet. In an instance, an embarrassing photo, Tweet, Facebook wall post or status update could ruin a young professional’s job status or personal reputation for weeks, months or longer.

The difficulties are further complicated when young adults attempt to bridge the gap between maintaining personal-but-appropriate social networking profiles on MySpace and Facebook, and professional networking profiles on LinkedIn.

  • Who do you network with, and on what platform?
  • What information should be shown, and what should remain private?

In such a severe economic recession, when every individual job opening invites literally hundreds and hundreds of resumes to company desks, more than ever before do young professionals need the knowledge, resources, and patience to forge a personal and professional “brand” for themselves widely across the internet.

Introducing Brand-Yourself.com

In February, I was emailed by Patrick Ambron, a Twitter contact of mine and the CMO of Brand-Yourself, LLC, a young start-up business located in the Syracuse, NY area. As a Gen-Y’er and (former) young professional who has spent close to a year forging an online brand as a writer and aspiring author, Patrick invited me to test drive Brand-Yourself.com’s new Brand Creation and Platform Building services (apparently, this form of branding doesn’t require tattooing yourself like I did).

Patrick told me that Brand-Yourself.com looks to offer young professionals a wide array of comprehensive tools with which young men and women can learn about and create various profiles across the Internet (even their own website) in order to forge a precise, professional, and highly ranked personal brand and professional platform.

Though my personal brand has already been established across the Internet (from DaveUrsillo.com and TheQuietLeader.com to Twitter and Facebook and more), I was happy to test drive Brand-Yourself.com’s platform building service to formulate a more controlled, online presence for my platform as a writer. I looked forward to a new portal that could help me keep track of the various social networking services I use and Brand-Yourself.com’s Reputation Tracker which crawls Google and pulls relevant information about your name that may otherwise go unnoticed.

The Brand-Yourself Services

Brand-Yourself.com touts an array of tools that help users create, maximize, and monitor a personal brand online. The coolest feature is the Reputation Feed that streams notifications, alerts and recommendations to help users build their brand. It notifies users about new content that mentions your name or Twitter/Facebook usernames, provides news and developing industry trends, provides job openings targeted to your interests and recommends “next steps” that you can take to strengthen your brand online.

Upon first logging in, you select areas of professional and career interest. Brand-Yourself then “crawls” the web, searching for pre-existing data about your name that currently shows through search engines.

Within minutes, you’ll be sorting through the Brand-Yourself Reputation Feed, a comprehensive system that monitors and organizes Google results about your name, mentions across the internet, Tweets, comments you’ve left on other blogs, and more. Even better, with Brand-Yourself you can specify which information is actually about you and which isn’t, to truly solidify your place on the internet and your personal/professional brand. I found this feature to be particularly awesome.

Brand-Yourself allows the easy creation of your own website or online personal/professional resume through a WordPress style site-builder that is built right into your Brand-Yourself Dashboard. This service alleviates the hassle and complexities of creating and maintaining your own domain. Though I already have my own website at DaveUrsillo.com, I created a simple site on Brand-Yourself.com with some biographical information and a new “Renegade of Written Word” Brand Worksheet that Brand-Yourself.com provided me the tools and information to build and complete. You can also purchase your own .com domain name and have your new Brand-Yourself.com website point to YourName.com to fully maximize your professional presence online.

Brand-Yourself also recommends creating profiles across a handful of other social networks, if only to claim your user name and reserve your brand so somebody else can’t register it. It was kind of a hassle to register for some services that I would often never use, but the very point is to claim your ground widely across the Internet, if only to preserve and protect your user name, real name, and brand name so that someone else cannot do damage to the brand and reputation you’re trying to build and maintain. This is what it takes to stand above the competition in the 21st century.

The Final Verdict

As a member of GenY and an active online personality who has used self-branding on the Internet for the better part of a year as I strive to obtain a publishing contract for my first independently authored book, THE QUIET LEADER, I would highly recommend that fellow GenY’ers, recent college graduates, and young professionals alike sign up for Brand-Yourself.com’s comprehensive services.

I’ve invested hundreds of hours online building my brand, my name, and my reputation. Even still, there was a ton of helpful information at Brand-Yourself.com that has helped me solidify my efforts in just the last few days since I began to use their services.

The Price and the Free Trial

On the one hand, a lifetime subscription to the service costs $99. On the other hand, building, maintaining, and tracking your reputation online is worth infinitely more than that. Consider, on one point alone, that if the difference between you and another candidate being hired for a $35,000/year job is what the employer finds out (or doesn’t find out) about you online, a measly $99 is an investment is definitely worth making!

Even better, and to celebrate their launch this week, Brand-Yourself.com is donating money for every free user registered to i[2]y, a pediatric cancer support organization that looks to provide the “best age-appropriate support [child cancer patients] are entitled to in order to get busy living at every stage of their survivorship.” So if you aren’t interested in Brand-Yourself.com, why not sign up for a free 7-day trial and help a great cause?

Win a Free, $100-Value Subscription

The cool folks over at Brand-Yourself.com wanted to provide the lovely readers of DaveUrsillo.com with a handful of free subscriptions to their full brand building and monitoring services. How cool is that? For your chance to win a free subscription to Brand-Yourself.com’s brand creator and reputation tracker (a $100 value), simply Follow Dave on Twitter (if you aren’t already!) and leave a quick comment here that provides me with your Twitter user name. Ten followers will be selected at random on the morning of Friday, March 5 Thursday, March 11. Winners will be contacted by Twitter direct message for their email address and provided a subscription key from Brand-Yourself.com and DaveUrsillo.com

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