Domain Names and Your Personal Brand

The development of the Internet forced the creation of a governing body, the Internet Assigned Numbers of Authority (IANA), in 1988. The IANA oversees computer identification number allocation, domain name system registration, and other internet-related numbers that affect the operation of the World Wide Web. The IANA gains personal relevance as a non-profit within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), itself overseen by the Department of Commerce. 

As a non-profit under the purview of the US government, ICANN was governed by US laws and court orders; the Department of Commerce provided technological oversight of additions to and modifications of the domain name system. This granted the Department the ability to censor content on the Internet, as when it seized and shut down the website Megaupload, a platform for file storage and sharing. 

On October 1, 2016, the contract between the Department of Commerce and ICANN expired, and with it the Department of Commerce’s ceded indefinite contractual rights to manage the global Internet’s domain name system; it transitioned its “stewardship role related to the Internet domain name system to the Internet multi-stakeholder community.”

US Government oversight of ICANN challenged the role of the Internet as an uncensored platform for communication—an ideal of transparency with parallels to the personal use of the domain name system and other facets of the internet used for personal information sharing. 

The transfer of Internet control from government to non-profit will not have direct effect on the average Internet user, but the use of domain names and other Internet branding tools does have direct applications. On average, 250 resumes are received for each corporate job opening, and the average recruiter spends 6 seconds reviewing a resume. Recruiting workshops increasingly emphasize the importance of an elevator pitch, and LinkedIn profile reviews encourage the use of the “summary” function to transform experienced professional into sound bite. With attention spans narrowing and job pools widening, there is increased pressure on candidates applying for summer internships and post-college positions to present a cohesive employment image. 

This shifting employment landscape occurs in a society that increasingly favors technological connection, establishing a foundation for the combination of elevator pitch and online platforms to aid the development of professional online profiles. The shifting employment landscape calls for a personal brand.  In the words of Neil Patel and Aaron Agius, a brand is anything – a symbol, design, name, sound, reputation, employees, tone, and much more—that separates one application from 249 others, a critical distinction in today’s job market. 

The number of online resources—from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Personal Brand Workbook to Quicksprout’s The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand—covering the topic highlight its relevance in today’s job market.  The creation of a personal brand begins with the definition of target audience, for an artist will approach online media differently than a budding market analyst. Online social communities—and cohesion among them—then promote engagement with the audience. 

The social media differ based on industry of interest. A musician might start a review blog, record a podcast, upload songs to Sound Cloud and YouTube, whereas a college student aiming for academia might highlight research and relevant coursework on and use area conferences as an opportunity to engage with those in his field and broaden his professional network. 

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn remain critical to the process. Add writing samples to and secure recommendations on LinkedIn, re-tweet posts on Twitter, and use Facebook to stay connected to acquaintances. These three are social media powerhouses and offer important opportunities to engage with a target audience.  

The domain name and personal website, under US government restrictions or otherwise, can combine and synthesize all online platforms. User-friendly sites offer low-cost domain name registration and attractive site templates that allow for immersive content like audio and video. Domain names convey tech-savvy and confidence in personal brand. A personal website tells of work experience and professional goals, certifications and examples of past work, video and graphic design in a cohesive unit that can operate as an 21st century elevator pitch for the job-hungry college student. 

So create a customizable QR code—that links to the personal domain or other social media profile that relates personal brand and demands additional attention—affix it to a business card, and land a job offer.