We’ve all seen those candid profile pictures that are less than flattering. The low cut shirt. An alcoholic beverage in hand. But what we may not realize is future employers are seeing those pictures online and thinking how unprofessional we look when we are out for a night on the town. They view our pictures as a rating of our quality and worth as a potential employee.
With the economy in shambles, I recently began brainstorming on how I could set myself apart from the typical college graduate applying for the work force. I started browsing books and blogs about personal branding. Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0, has a Web site dedicated solely to the idea of using yourself as your main tool for success. Think of it as creating a public relations plan for yourself.
So where can you get started with personal branding? I found a helpful blog by Rachel Esterline who started her personal branding with her online image. After reading Rachel’s blog, Using Avatars, I began thinking how important it is to create a brand for myself, starting with my profile picture. So, I visited the site she mentioned – http://en.gravatar.com/.
According to the Web site, a gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is simply an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things. Avatars are most popular in helping identify your posts on blogs and Web forums. It works by connecting the image you upload on their Web site to all sites that are gravatar enabled, thus giving you a consistent image with all online media. I decided to try it for myself. Below are the steps I took to create my gravatar and embark on my personal branding journey.
- Visit Web site: http://en.gravatar.com/
- Sign up for a gravatar (You can use your existing WordPress account information!)
- Upload an image that you want to represent yourself online. Choose a picture that is clean and looks professional, but not unhappy or ominous. You can upload multiple pictures and organize them so they are only used on certain sites. Here is the picture I uploaded:
- Activate plugins for gravatar enabled Web sites, such as WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal and many others. For Web sites that aren’t compatible with gravatar, you can construct a URL to link back to your gravatar. Here are the changes that took place with the blogs and social media sites I am active with:
- Stay active in social media and begin your personal branding online today!