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Creating a Personal Brand through Using the Internet

Creating a Personal Brand through Using the Internet

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Guest Post by Dr. Novadean Watson-Stone
Program Director, Information Technology Management, American Public University System

Back in the day when newspapers, magazines, radio, and network television were the primary media and publicity was limited to movie stars, musicians, athletes, and politicians, building a personal brand beyond your local community was impossible. Dr. Novadean Watson-Stone writes this week’s guest blog post about the many ways individuals can build a brand on the Internet.

Today’s industries require college graduates to market their skills well beyond a career resource center. Soft skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, followership, negotiation and specialized training are in high demand. However, graduates possessing these skills must find ways to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Distinguishing Yourself from Other Graduates

How do graduates set themselves apart from their classmates and other competing individuals? More and more, today’s graduates are establishing a personal brand on the internet. They use logos, brochures, flyers, posters, advertisements, and videos. These products are developed with software such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Adobe Premiere Pro CC; Pixlr; Capture One Pro and Final Cut Pro X; Corel AfterShot Pro and Corel VideoStudio Ultimate 2019; PhotoDirector; KineMaster; and GIMP.

According to Salary.com, there are several key ways to brand yourself to include determining what makes you unique, discovering how others perceive your exemplary attributes, establishing your goals, focusing on a target audience, becoming a social networker, building your own website, and blogging. Salary.com notes that if you are a graduate, you might find that “[setting up] accounts at social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, [asking] those in your target audience to subscribe to your pages, and [updating it] on a daily basis” to be a very valuable investment of your time. Additionally, using your website as a type of electronic portfolio for prospective employers to view and capture the essence of your work will yield an even more favorable digital footprint.

Using Social Media to Create a Personal Brand

Most internet users own several social media accounts and use them to interact with family and friends, share experiences, and make announcements. According to Chase Buckle, Trends Manager at GlobalWebIndex, “digital consumers are now spending an average of almost 2 hours per day on networking and messaging…That’s a substantial chunk of daily media activities, with networking/messaging capturing almost 1 in every 3 minutes spent online.”

Since about 86% of internet users use social media at least once per day and 72% use it several times per day via PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets, it makes sense to take your credentials, expertise, and your brand, to where your audience is—the internet.

Additionally, organizations are using social media monitoring tools such as Keyhole, Hootsuite, Twitter Counter, Digimind, TweetReach, Sprout Social, Klout, and Buzzlogix to capture a vast amount of information on potential candidates. Recruiterbox further notes, “Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and a handful of others offer recruiters a tremendous opportunity to connect with candidates – many of whom would never be found through traditional sources.”

Even companies are encouraged to develop recruiting strategies that include elements of branding. The concept of branding is becoming a universal approach to marketing and making yourself noticeable online. The good news is you get the opportunity to define who you are and not a “system.” Brand yourself using social media and other related internet tools and make the phrase “your reputation precedes you” a reality!

About the Author

Dr. Watson-Stone is currently the Program Director for the undergraduate programs in Information Technology Management and Computer Technology at American Public University System (APUS); she serves an aggressively growing department. She has over 20 years of experience in the information technology field.

Recently, Dr. Watson-Stone presented webinars on Negotiation and Entrepreneurship (Oct 29-30, 2019) for the CompTIA Association of Information Technology Professionals. Previously, she published several blog articles on topics such as collective intelligence and soft skills. She further co-published several other articles to include “RFID with Real Implications,” “Artificial Intelligence in Information Security,” and the “Evolution of Information Security.”

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and as a member of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

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