Branding is a term that’s commonly used in marketing by organizations. We could learn a lot from organizations. They take extensive measures to determine their brand and protect their image. It’s because they understand the value of branding. Think about it this way, just like people buy based on brands, employers hire based on brands.
Implementing these 5 steps will help you elevate your brand and boost your career.
1. Define Your Professional Brand
It’s time to stop allowing others to define your brand or assuming what it is. Audre Lorde said it best “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Decide today, how do you want to be known, what are your strengths, what attributes define how you work, what are your passions and how do they translate professionally?
Once you’ve defined yourself professionally, put together a professional statement. This statement will explain who you are professionally. Write it down and repeat it often.
2. Tidy Up Your Online Presence
Recruiters and hiring managers have been known to look at your social media profiles BEFORE they even contact you for an interview. This has become an integral part of the screening process. What does your online presence reveal? Try googling yourself and see what comes up. Look at your profiles and decide if they are consistent with who you say you are and how you want to be portrayed. Does it reflect the image of the person from the professional branding statement you created? If the answer is no, then get to cleaning.
Oh, and notice I said social media profiles. Don’t stop at LinkedIn because organizations go far beyond your LinkedIn profile. Look at the content you’ve posted, sweep through the photos and images you have posted and reposted, check your privacy settings and manage your connections wisely.
3. Exude Confidence
Now that you have defined your brand, it’ll be easier to find your voice and exude confidence. The more comfortable you become with your brand, the more self-assured you’ll be.
Employers want confident people. If you are unsure of yourself, your abilities or skills, then why would an employer or client take a chance on you? If you lack confidence, start where you are. Repeat your professional brand statement daily and do one thing that is in alignment with your brand and takes you out of your comfort zone. Try sharing or writing an article on a social media platform like LinkedIn, attend a networking event or engage in an online group within your professional area of expertise. These are tasks that can help you build your confidence while being recognized for your talents.
4. Invest in Yourself
Continue to grow within your industry or related industries. One of the worst things professionals can do is to become complacent and stagnant. Even if you decide management is not for you and you enjoy your current role, you should continue to grow. Learn about new tools or methods to use within the organization. Remain innovative and share new and fresh ideas.
Find professional development opportunities through networking events, member associations and community events. Continuing to learn, will increase opportunity, keep you competitive and marketable. It also helps to boost confidence!
5. Find a Mentor
Navigating the corporate maze can be a bit tricky and sometimes overwhelming. Having someone in your corner to assist you can ease the frustration and fast track your career. A mentor can help you overcome adversity and may be able to help you advance your career through the right connections. Mentors may be found within your organization or while attending networking events within your industry.
If you want to influence your image and how others see you, start managing your brand. Not only will you feel the change, your organization and clients will notice a change.
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