Evolving into the Industry’s Thought Leader – and Top Candidate
Developing your personal brand is an evolving process. Its purpose extends beyond a single job search and defines you as you develop your professional community and advance your company’s goals as well as your own. Everything you say and do contributes to your personal brand.
It’s typical to hold many jobs during the course of your career and experience changing workplace landscapes along the way. Optimizing your personal brand to become a standout thought leader isn’t just a trend – it’s a proven success strategy.
The key to developing your brand is continually monitoring your progress so you don’t miss any key growth opportunities. This requires you to take personal responsibility for your own path in life, of which a huge piece is your work.
- Don’t rely on someone else to hand advancements to you. Rather, initiate partnerships so others invest in your career and help you reach your goals.
- Start with a self-assessment. Gauge what you most value, what motivates you and what unique talents you can share. Connect these with what you do. By understanding what you bring to the table, you can better articulate your strengths during the interview process. Later, you can leverage them again on the job.
- Find out how others see you. Engage in 360-degree feedback from your immediate work circle. Studies have shown that the greatest assessment results come from those who have known you for one to five years – long enough to get past initial impressions but not too long to acquire a bias. It can be very helpful to see different perspectives of your performance as a guide for improvement or to create greater congruence.
Personal Branding and Career Development
The best jobs go to those with the strongest personal brands. To effectively compete, you need a brand that positions you as nothing less than the best candidate.
- A well-defined brand clarifies your career options. It illustrates your unique blend of strengths and abilities so they can be molded into an effective plan to positively impact clients, co-workers, managers and executive leadership. Over the long term, your brand will drive you to make the right decisions about future opportunities.
- Your career development plan is a natural extension of your brand. Knowing how you can best contribute to a project or team is empowering. It makes it much easier to be engaged and successful at work, because you’re confident in your capabilities. Through continual evaluation of your brand, this becomes a career-long growth asset.
Market Your Brand
Even when you’re not job hunting, continue to communicate, stay aware of shifts and trends in your industry and enhance your professional visibility. Keep your eyes and mind open. You never know when or where opportunity may knock – and when it does, you’ll be ready. In fact, it may pick your door first.
- How you communicate says as much about you as what you communicate. Practice what you preach. For instance, if you say it’s important to mentor but don’t do so yourself, this sends the wrong message. Communicate succinctly and personally. Develop an elevator speech that describes how your personal brand aligns with your firm’s brand. Maintain a consistent message, but tailor it to effectively reach your target audience.
- Share your expertise. Participate in industry conferences and professional forums. Write briefs and articles. Blog. Extend your network and reach out to help others. When you share your time and talents, people remember you.
- Network on line. Make recommendations when you see opportunities that may be of interest to others. People will return the courtesy. Stay abreast of activity in the market.