The final tip in our series on building your professional brand story is to keep your story fresh.
Your professional career is an ever evolving chapter of your life. Each time you learn a new skill, complete a new achievement, or begin a new job, you are adding to the chapter. While your core message should remain the same, you should look for ways to always keep your message fresh. To do this, you can:
Maintain a journal or log of all of your professional achievements When you go to work every day, you solve problems. You do a lot on a daily basis, so it is easy to forget or downplay the impact you have. Keeping a “I have done” journal will help you keep track of your work and its results. Record the quantifiable impact of your efforts. For example, if you created a process which reduced the time of task completion by 10%, or participated on a project that increased sales by 20%, make sure you are adding these details to your journal. Use them to spice up your online profiles and cover letters. Remember, these examples are the evidence that your brand is truly and consistently in action. An achievement that you earned in the past 6 months is much stronger than one you earned 5 years ago. This is why you want to be sure you are constantly adding to your list and keeping it current.
Get endorsements – Your resume, cover letter, and interview skills are all ways that you promote yourself. Your references or brand ambassadors are the people that your prospective employers will call to gain more insight into your work ethic. But there are other ways you can “prove” your capabilities. The professional social network, LinkedIN allows people to provide you with endorsements of your core skills. You create a list of your skills and your LinkedIN connections are able to endorse you, or agree that you possess that skill. Even stronger than an endorsement is a recommendation. On LinkedIn, a recommendation is basically a review of your expertise. A glowing recommendation that aligns with your brand message is powerful.
Another type of endorsement that you can have to support your brand is a referral letter. This can be from a manager, vendor, employer, volunteer project manager, etc. Most companies do not ask for referral letters, but having one is another way to spice up your portfolio, set you apart and keep your brand messaging fresh and diverse.
Be Memorable – Last but not least – strive to be memorable. What unique action can you take that will allow your prospective employers or partners to “feel” your brand? If communication is one of the integral pieces of your brand, perhaps a link to a professional video would be a great addition to your skills portfolio; If leadership and motivation are part of your story, send a thank you card with a strong leadership quote after your interview.
Think outside the box. Make a list of the types of actions someone with your brand skills would do and find a way to integrate them into your hiring process and/or your networking system.
This bring us to the end of the branding series, now your mission if you choose to accept it: – Build YOUR powerful and authentic story; strategically activate, protect and monitor it and showcase it to your audiences in a way that leaves a lasting impression…and of course, do it courageously!