Your professional brand is a reflection of how people perceive you and what you are known for. Developing your brand comes not only from your professional accomplishments, but also from your interactions with those you work with - including co-workers, clients, and partner organizations. A strong brand can help you become the person in demand that everyone wants to work with and will put you in charge of your career.
Figure out how to be valuable in the office and show results. This is also known as creating your own “job security” and it happens once you’re able to prove you’re an asset versus just a paycheck collector. Show those in charge, and your clients, that they are benefiting from your services and getting good ROI (return on investment) and you’ll build a solid brand that speaks for itself. The easiest way to accomplish this? Determine what it is you do that is measurable, measure your results, and then find a way to introduce those results at an appropriate time. This isn’t about bragging every day about all the amazing things you do, this is about working hard and showing results.
Part of building your brand is exhibiting your expertise. Decide what you want to be known for, then position yourself as the go-to-person for that specific skill. Anytime someone needs that skill, they should think of you. The important thing to remember is that if no one knows you have a skill, they won’t call on you to perform it and you’re true talents will never shine. So, don’t be shy. Speak up at staff meetings, volunteer to give presentations, write blog posts for the company website, or contribute to an internal newsletter where you can share your expertise with others.
Have an endorsement mindset, but not for yourself. Instead of aiming to make sure that everyone knows what you’ve accomplished, brag about other people and what they are accomplishing. Supporting others will go a long way in building a solid reputation for yourself as a team player and someone everyone wants to work with. Sometimes we just need someone to say, “Great job” or “You can do it!” When you provide this emotional support to other people it becomes contagious. Celebrate other people and give them a reason to celebrate you and you’ll have a stellar professional brand.
Those that ask, learn. Those that learn, grow. Plus, asking questions shows you’re intuitive and engaged with your work. Most organizations want a diverse team environment, it leads to better goods and services and overall better team dynamic. So don’t aim for being agreeable, aim for being a valuable part of the team. This means not being afraid of speaking up and asking why, just do so in a respectful manner. And when someone asks a question no one has an answer to, take the opportunity to step up and find a way to solve the problem.
You can’t buy clients or a new job, but your network can help you achieve both. Network socially and professionally, online and offline, because you never know who could lead you to your next opportunity. Networking can help you bring more leads into your organization, build stronger customer relationships, and develop strategic partnerships with other organizations. Remember, networking doesn’t have to be intimidating, just ask the other person questions about themselves and their work and listen for ways you might be able to help, now or in the future.
When you see a need, volunteer to fill it. We’re typically most impressive in work when we go out of our way to take the initiative and solve a problem no one else is willing to tackle. Figure out how you can help others then step up and volunteer for those tasks. This helps build your professional brand in many ways, it shows you’re up for a challenge, a hard worker and a creative thinker.
Getting others to trust you is incredibly important for your professional brand. You have to be confident in yourself if you want other people to be confident in you. If you don’t have trust in yourself that you’re capable of accomplishing a task, it will be glaringly obvious to those around you and they’ll go around you to accomplish the work. When you’re left out of important projects you start to become irrelevant at work. So if you’re naturally reserved and afraid to speak up or step forward, it’s time to step outside your comfort zone.
(Unless you’re a barista, then, by all means, make the best coffee possible!) If you are only known for making the best coffee in the office, you are being overlooked for your more valuable talents. If no one knows what you’re good at, you’ll never be asked to perform the work and you won’t have a chance to shine. Make sure others know what you are capable of in order to increase your value around the office. What are you going to do today to get other people to say “Wow!”?
If you find it hard to remain positive, at least try the old “fake it ‘till you make it” mantra with a smile. No one wants to work with a whiner; we want to surround ourselves with positive people. If you find yourself continuously complaining, figure out what you can do to change the situation.
Follow through on your commitments and make sure that your time line of follow-through matches the expectations set by the task initiator. If a meeting starts at 10 and you show up at 10:10 have you met expectations? You might think you’ve met your commitment by just by showing up, but others involved might disagree. If you make a habit of breaking commitments, other’s confidence in you will diminish and your professional brand will suffer.
So, how do you become the person everyone wants to work with? Essentially, it comes down to being positive, working hard, and producing results. If you can keep these things in mind each day, you’ll be well on your way to developing a professional brand that leads to the work and compensation you want and deserve.
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