What is your personal brand saying to others? Getting bigger promotions, better clients, and a richer career depends largely on how you’re perceived by senior managers, business associates, and potential employers. That means that people are the jet fuel behind your career. People can promote you, hire you, mentor you, inspire you, or introduce you to others who could hire you.
So if you’d like to get into a career that actually inspires you to get out of bed in the morning, then a good place to start is by polishing up your personal brand.
* Send the “right” messages. Everything you do and say sends messages to your senior managers, clients, peers, networking contacts and potential employers. Your words, actions, presentations, reports and work deliverables all shape the perceptions others have about you.
You influence people through your actions and your words so make sure both are in sync. Send a crystal clear message that focuses on the value that you consistently deliver to a company or client. Your “value” is a unique blend of your strengths, professional accomplishments, and personal characteristics such as being a good leader, risk taker, problem solver, strategic thinker, etc. All of these things combined make up your “value package” which makes you truly unique from a crowd of colleagues, business associates, and even job applicants.
If you’re currently working with a company and you’d like to stay there, then you may want your message to be that you deliver high quality and results. For example, if you’re in sales then your message should be that you consistently generate revenue. If you’re a creative director then your message should be that you consistently develop fresh campaigns that increase sales.
Take every opportunity to send your value message through project updates, status reports, presentations, hallway conversations, business networking events, in your resume, and in your interviews. Talk about the results or the success of the projects and teams you’ve led, or the benefit they added to the company like generating more revenue, saving costs, or making the company be more competitive. If you want to be seen as a problem solver then talk about the challenges that your team overcame, and the key lessons that you’ve learned.
The key is to role model the “value” that you provide by consistently demonstrating it, living it and breathing it.
* Go for the “High Value” Projects. Getting on the right projects and delivering strong results is the single most effective way to boost your personal brand. That means aggressively going after those projects that generate money, save costs or make the company more competitive.
Just like everyone else, you have 8-10 hours a day at work. Now, you can either spend those hours parceling out your time in bits and pieces working on a variety of tasks and assignments, or you can concentrate your efforts on making major contributions that generate BIG results.
Consider where you can make the biggest impact for your organization and aggressively go after those assignments. Successful professionals don’t leave it up to their managers and senior leaders to drop plum projects in their lap. They drive their career by volunteering for, or even creating, projects that make the biggest impact.
* Get into a career where you can thrive (not just survive!) It’s impossible to have a powerful personal brand if you’re just going through the motions at work. If you’re walking around dull and listless (like the Clairol Herbal Essence girl before she shampoos her hair), then others are sure to see you that way. You need to be in a career that challenges you, flexes your professional muscles, and excites you!
Think about what kind of work you want to be doing. Start by identifying the three key ingredients you need in the work itself to be happy and fulfilled such as leading teams, working on creative projects, developing new technologies, etc. Once you’ve defined the three key ingredients, then do whatever it takes to drive your career towards that vision.
So what is your personal brand saying about you? Powerful personal brands don’t just happen overnight. It takes time, focus, and commitment, but the payoff is a deeper, more meaningful career. “CAREER SMART-5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” can help you find YOUR personal brand.