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Interview with Dr Andrew Makar: Managing your personal brand

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Andrew MakarToday, I interview Dr Andrew Makar, an IT programme manager, blogger, and author of Project Management Interview Question Made Easy. He talks about building a professional project management portfolio and managing your personal brand at the office.
Andy, why is it important that you have a professional project manager profile?
Would you hire someone dressed in a bedsheet as a makeshift toga?
You don’t want to see any questionable photos on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, no matter how much you enjoy attending a toga dance party. Social media platforms don’t allow you to control the content or who can see the most recent picture you have been tagged in. I’ve been in “trouble” with some friends who didn’t post anything to Facebook but someone else did. That was enough to start controversy.
It is vital to keep a professional profile for project management. Your digital footprint can become part of your resume and can be difficult to erase. I still use Facebook to share photos, funny one-liners, and check-in.
My LinkedIn profile is professional maintained and portrays the image of a project manager. It is worth taking a second look before adding your Live Action Role Playing Game blog on LinkedIn.
Although I enjoy World of Warcraft-style role-playing games you won’t find it on my LinkedIn profile. You might want to reconsider posting your latest blog post on project management to your LinkedIn profile, even if it is related to your job. Your employer might not like your opinion, regardless of the date you wrote it.
What about Twitter?
Twitter is a way for me to connect with other project managers. However, I don’t tweet controversial opinions or political rants like many Hollywood’s D-list. Although it is important to be transparent on social media, it can be difficult to entertain while tweeting about project-management.
You can still keep an engaging and professional online presence by sharing relevant news and constructively commenting upon relevant status updates. Post relevant, but clean presentations on project management topics. Post links to relevant articles on project management. You can be a thought leader without compromising both your professional and personal profiles.
All of this information is publically available, isn’t it?
Your online profile is one of many publicly available pieces of information that a hiring manager can access without your permission. What image do you want them see? A picture of you in a toga or a project manager speaking at a local PMI Conference?
I get what you mean. How can individuals improve their professional image by cleaning up their social media accounts?
Perform a professional edit to your Facebook page, photos, LinkedIn Profile and Twitter feeds. It is simple enough to clean up old posts on Facebook and remove questionable links from your LinkedIn Profile. Twitter is more challenging because once a tweet is sent, it is gone.
You can be a thought-leader in project management if you want to be. Add relevant content, websites, and links related to project management to your profile. Participate in the LinkedIn forums to contribute professionally to the questions. Even if there are questionable tweets or discussion forums posts from a decade back, creating new content relevant to your profession will suppress older content. It is difficult to delete content once it has been indexed. Be professional and careful!
Do you have any examples where people have missed out on opportunities due to their personal brand not being appropriate?