Why build a personal brand?
Early in your career you may have been under the misguided illusion that your reputation, performance, education and effort are enough to get ahead. Spoiler alert, it’s not. What will get your next promotion, invited to collaborate beyond your scope, or selected for juicy projects, is understanding how to make yourself stand out. This will require you to formulate your personal branding to help your career thrive.
I have a good reputation already, why do I need to work on my personal brand?
Your personal brand is how you want to be professionally seen not, how you are seen. It is about visibility and the values that you outwardly represent at work. Once you’re clear on these, you can align your intentions with your actions. This will help your stakeholders connect with you, both emotionally and intellectually.
Your personal brand will help you:
- make the result of your work visible to others
- increase your leadership credibility
- build your reputation
- gain internal promotion
- position yourself for significant career opportunities
- continuously build your professional network
- strengthen your business influence
The 5 Steps
1. What drives you
Self-awareness is the foundation of an authentic personal brand. Self-analysis, self-reflection, and feedback from those you trust, can help you recognise your qualities and your values. You should ask yourself?
- What motivates you to get up in the morning and go to work?
- What skills or talents are you most proud of?
- What skills are you curious about but have yet to build?
- What kind of tasks or projects energise you?
- What subjects most pique your interest?
- What do the people you most admire have in common?
This process will help you harness your existing skills and competencies to be more deliberate in demonstrating behaviours that make your greatest strengths and passions outwardly visible. It may also highlight what new skills you need to develop or experience you need to gain, to get to where you want to go.
2. Align your values to the organisation’s goals
It’s helpful to know what the organisation’s goals are. If you’re not sure, identify who is successful and admired at work. What behaviours and traits do they consistently exhibit and what are their most valued strengths? Most critically, how does their behaviour help drive the business? Work out how these goals and values are aligned with your current skills and the qualities that your organisation rewards. If there’s a mismatch, focus on developing those areas and expand your competencies.
3. Know your stakeholders
Identify the influencers in your organisation and strategize ways to formally and informally connect with them. If you have access, target the leadership team to reach out and learn more about them, their interests, professional challenges and problems they’re trying to solve. Use this knowledge to position yourself as someone who they can work with, who will add value, and who has the ability to make a larger impact in the company.
4. Be visible
Reach out to your stakeholders so they know who you are. Ask for help from your boss, a senior colleague, or teammate to help you make a few introductions so you can arrange a call/ coffee/ meeting. When starting a new role or joining a new company, arranging 1:1’s with managers or peers in other departments is good networking opportunity and a great way to find out what’s going on in the business.
5. Communicate and network
Regularly communicating with your stakeholders will give them the opportunity to get to know and appreciate you, recognise your future potential and promote your professional development. You can achieve this internally during 1:1 catch ups with your boss, at team meetings or externally by becoming a thought leader on social media platforms or by attending industry events and conferences to grow your network.
Building a personal brand may feel like self-promotion and something out of your comfort zone but it’s far from it. It’s defining the distinctive value that you bring to your career. It has the potential to strengthen your connections and engage more deeply with colleagues. Being able to articulate your brand will help others understand who you really are, what you stand for, build authentic relationships, and ultimately, realise your career goals.
This article was written by Lorraine Petken, The HR Coach, one of the Careering into Motherhood Partner Coaches. She works with HR Professionals to help them feel supported and motivated to focus on their own development and career goals. To book a free discovery call to learn more, go to Lorraine’s profile page.
July 30, 2023