Tips for Exercising Your Personal Brand Career Strategy - dummies

Tips for Exercising Your Personal Brand Career Strategy

By Susan Chritton

These days (unlike in the early 1980s and prior), personal branding means most people realize that they’ll have many jobs during their careers and must continually train to prepare for the changing workplace landscape. As a result, applying personal branding in the workplace is not a trend; it’s a survival strategy.

Here are a few ways you can use personal branding to help you in the workplace, whether you’ve been on the job for two days or five years or are between jobs.

Devise your own branding strategy

In the past, workers depended on others to manage their career advancement; they often did little more than hope for a promotion or raise. The thinking was that if you worked hard and did what was asked, someone would notice and reward you for it.

That still happens — sometimes. But if you choose to take that route, you hand over a huge component of your life in hopes that someone else will take care of it.

Your better bet is always to be thinking ahead of what you need to do to learn, grow, and improve your work and continually monitor your situation so that you don’t miss any opportunities. Most people don’t take this proactive approach, and that fact alone gives you an advantage.

Exercising your personal brand career strategy means that you don’t rely on someone else to hand your advancements to you. It means you partner with others so that they invest in your career and help you with your career goals. It means taking personal responsibility for your own path in life, of which a huge piece is your work.

Crafting your personal brand career strategy plan means you pull together discoveries from that include

  • Needs

  • Values

  • Interests

  • Personality

  • Mission

  • Work experience

  • Strengths

  • Education

  • 360 degree feedback

  • Goals

  • Target audience

  • Competitor analysis

Your plan isn’t just an exercise; you should strive to fully engage it in your work. The fun part is using what you’ve been planning and putting your brand into action.

Identify your boss(es)

“Who is my boss?” may sound like a silly question to ask, but in some cases, it’s a tough question to answer. As you start to do more and more project work, you may end up reporting to one person for one project, to several other people for another project, and to customers (who are the ultimate bosses in most situations) — often all at the same time.

How does a personal brand help you find the answer? Remember that personal branding is all about knowing what you stand for and what work you do, expressing who you are clearly, and being authentic. Through the development of your personal brand, you recognize that what you bring to the table is different than what others offer through their personal brands.

In this crazy world where it may not be obvious who exactly you are reporting to and who your “boss” is, it is important to treat each person respectfully and uniquely deliver what you’ve promised to each of them. These qualities help you move from situation to situation and boss to boss.

Choose your own job title

When you’re in business for yourself, you can call yourself just about any title you’d like.

Here are a few titles listed on one person’s LinkedIn profile: Communications Strategist; Chief Storyteller; Speaker Coach; Public Relations Pro. Who do you think gave that person his titles? Surely he gave them to himself based on his abilities and goals.

If you’re working for a company, you probably won’t be able to give yourself a title. However, you might give yourself a tagline that you can add on to the company title — for example, Administrative Assistant ~ Taking organization to a new level. The tagline becomes a way to differentiate yourself among all the other Administrative Assistants in your company and add your individual brand to your title.

The goal isn’t to let your past job titles limit or fully define you. Personal branders try to innovate with new job titles that showcase who they are, what they do, and what they stand for.

You don’t want to get too esoteric (potential employers may not be able to decipher what a Dynamic Implementation Engineer or a Global Paradigm Administrator is), but definitely do some brainstorming to discover creative ways to communicate your abilities.

Thrive in a competency-based world

While your job title(s) may help you get an interview, to be hired you need to make sure that you can deliver quality work. Obviously, when people hire you, they want to know what you’re competent to do.

What exactly is a competency? A core competency is fundamental knowledge, ability, or expertise in a specific subject area or skill set. The core part of the term indicates that you have a strong foundation from which to build the additional competence to do a specific job.

Being able to explain your competencies and demonstrate your skill sets are aspects of how you differentiate yourself from your competitors. Understanding clearly what you can do and being able to express it clearly to potential employers are keys to selling yourself in the job market.