As you are planning the steps towards your next professional move, there is one key strategy you must keep in mind…managing your professional brand. Yes, YOU have a brand. Today…right now…you have a brand. It may have been created intentionally or created by default, but you have one. This is not about the brand of your employer or the product or service your sell or support. This is about YOUR professional brand. Now that you know you have one, it is time to make your brand work for you.
What is a professional brand? Simply stated – it is the story / message you broadcast to your employer /customers / partners /vendors, etc. Your brand TELLS your AUDIENCE what you DO and who you ARE.
Step 1 in managing your professional brand for career success is to Discover / Define your brand message. In other words, determine what you want your audience (current and/or prospective employers) to know about what you DO and who you ARE.
Discover/Define your brand – Not sure what your brand is? Ask around… Ask former/current employer /customers / partners /vendors/close friends/family to help you define who you are AND what they think you do. Find out:
- What people think about when they think about your work / services?
- What strengths would they say you add to team?
- What 1 – 3 words would they use to define you? Your work ethic?
- What makes you different than others around you?
Answer the same questions the way you would want others to respond and then compare the results. Examine the responses to identify patterns and themes. You might be surprised to learn that what you do is different than what others think you do. This gap will help you determine if you need to clarify the message you are currently sending or refocus it altogether.
Now that you know the story your brand is currently telling, it is time to align it with the story you want to tell. In an ideal world, what would you want people to say about you? If a friend had access to a prospective employer and had to tell your story in a way that would get you an interview, what message would accurately represent you? Get clear with YOUR story. Once you define it you want to activate and amplify it with your action.