Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Creating a Personal Brand

Stand out.  That's what most people want to do when they're looking for a job in real life.  It's not the sort of thing most of us want to do on the Internet.  If people know who you are, they might find out where you live; they might find out your bank details; they might try to sell you drugs to enlarge organs you don't even own.  Sure, you could be a massive blogger, or tweeter, with hundreds of followers; your opinion might be sought by media pundits and traditional journalists; but most of us want to keep ourselves to ourselves.  The Internet is somewhere we can say things we could never say in real life.  'Hello I'm 'easily-searchable-identity' isn't one of them.

This week however the course I'm on recommended Googling yourself, coming to terms with the fact that this information is out there, and then gathering it into a consistent, flattering portrait of how you want to show off to the world.  Deep breaths.  I put my real name into Google.  About four genuine results came up (I have an S, not a Z, and I have never been on MySpace).  One was my Facebook, which is locked down anyway.  One was my LinkedIn, which I barely use, and is utterly professional.  But there were some surprises - a testimonial on my university website; my account activity on, who I briefly worked for as a beta-tester and book-reviewer; and my Lulu storefront, where I make no effort to sell either version of my fantasy novel.

Unsurprisingly this blog - 'Ishamel''s blog - did not come up.  Not even on the third page.  This is a little puzzling, because I have pointed prospective employers here on the bottom of my CV for almost a year now. It never occurred to me to open my profile here, add a little piccy of me, a bit of info, some contact details.

Reader - I'm still too scared.  I still keep my email address private as much as possible.  But I have added the same photo of myself to my profile here as I have for LinkedIn.  I'm changing my name.  And, reading through those links from Googling myself, I saw nothing which I would be ashamed for my boss to find.  As for this blog?  Two people have told me it's pretty and interesting, and one of those people is now teaching me to do her job.  So I suppose my brand is 'pretty and interesting'.  I could do a lot worse.


  1. I promise not to compromise your "G' or "L" identities!

  2. I see you've chosen to use a nickname as well! And finally got the apparently annoying commenting sorted out...
    There's a lot of librarians doing this thing, you might learn something :P

  3. Pretty and interesting is not a bad brand at all. :) You're not alone in your desire for privacy. I haven't added my real name to my blog yet. I will probably add a photo though.