Dos and Don’ts of Personal Branding

December 29th, 2015 by


Let’s face it—whether you happily engage in social media or feel it is a “weapon of mass distraction,” it’s not going away any time soon. And chances are you either currently (or will in the future) participate in some form of social media.

With that being said, taking time to think about your personal brand is crucial. So, regardless if you’re on one platform or all one-hundred billion and five social medial platforms that are out there, (ok, that might not be an accurate number, but you get the idea) personal branding comes with its own set of rules.

Let’s look at the biggest social media Dos and Don’ts to maximize your personal branding efforts:


  • Be Consistent

Do not confuse ‘consistent’ with boring. It’s about being recognizable to your followers, potential clients or employers.

  • Be Cautious

If you don’t have anything nice to say… you know the rest. Find a way to politely disagree without antagonizing or perpetuating social negativity.

  • Be Selective

By nature, people are curious. We have many interests. A good practice is to pick one hobby, one professional skill and one cause or lifestyle topic.

  • Be Creative

What is unique about you, your voice and your personality? Work those attributes into your content.


  • Be Critical

Remember, no matter what your privacy settings are, social media is still essentially public record. Being critical comes across as combative. It is not a trait that employers (or anyone else) will be impressed with.

  • Be “That Person”

Know the difference between personal branding and shameless self-promotion. Personal branding should be an authentic expression of your personality. Self-promotion is “spammy”, unfocused and does not productively contribute to any conversation.

  • Be Negative

We all have this friend: they only post about is how awful everything is; their love life is the worst, their job is the worst, their life is the worst. Repeat after me, “My social media is not my personal diary.”

As a sidebar here: If you do have reason to be concerned about a friend who is seemingly distressed, take the conversation offline—call them, contact someone close to them or contact professionals if there is a real problem. The sooner the person receives support, the better.

  • Be Fake

The glory of social media is that you can make it as unique as you are. It’s an opportunity for others to learn more about you and you about them. Be authentic. Be bold! And always, always be you!

Don’t panic if you find yourself guilty of some of these social media “Don’ts.” You can start creating—or turning around—your personal brand today. Next Step Academy also has a perfect Social Media Etiquette course. Need a refresher? Take a few minutes and check it out:

Now, go forth and brand!


Let’s Get Started

December 22nd, 2015 by

young-game-match-kidsHi, I’m Jackie. And I have recently taken on the role of content and marketing specialist at Next Step Academy. In my own history, I’ve experienced a great deal of starting, stopping, re-starting and life changing-trajectories, especially when it came to my education, careers and lifestyles.

I’d like to share some personal insights with you about my journey, in hopes that it will help you with yours. And if you’re up for it, we’d love to hear from you, too.

The first step with any new endeavor is getting informed. Gather as much  information as you can. What do you already know? What do you need to know? Who are reliable sources? Even if you can’t find the exact information you need, by doing a bit of research, you’ll find that any questions you have will make you sound more knowledgeable. Asking smart questions is better than having no questions at all.

Secondly, get organized. If organization isn’t your strong suit, at least have a basic list of tasks to accomplish. The more organized you are, the more efficient you’ll be at meeting your goals. For those of you who are more organizationally inclined, I don’t need to tell you this can take some time. A word of advice here—be careful not to be so intricately detailed that there’s no room for change. There is an art to finding the balance between organization and flexibility.

Lastly, confidence is key. Being informed and having a plan will help with finding your confidence, but it doesn’t mean that it will just appear. Everyone’s confidence varies, and that’s ok. That’s what makes us all unique. You’ll find that people who are confident in their work, interests, or other areas of life, are generally happy to share their expertise and talk about their passion.

So, as you continue on your own journey, keep these three words in mind:

Information. Organization. Confidence.

They’ll serve you well.

If you have other suggestions for getting started and would like to share your story with us, we would love to hear from you! Send an email to or contact me directly at

Here’s to getting started!


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