As much as I hate writing these words, investing in a personal brand is important in today’s world.
There was a time not so long ago that I would unleash my eyes of judgement when someone brought up the topic of personal branding. But, as I’ve evolved in my career, I’ve come to understand its place in the game we all play.
When I talk about personal branding, I don’t mean that fluffy shit you hear most people writing about. I’m not recommending anyone change or bend their personality to fit the opinion of others and I never will.
Personal branding to me is showing people what many might call your authentic self aka who you really are.
To some, the prospect of showing you they really are can be terrifying.
Yet, for many. It has proven to be the biggest source of building a career they love and working with some amazing people too.
Building a brand at a new place of work or at your very first place of work is an important step to take in building your career and settling into a new environment with new people.
Whether, you’re a recent graduate starting your first ever job or your an established player moving to a new workplace. These tips will help you build a brand that will support your continued career development wherever your journey takes you.
Get involved in projects or streams of work outside your role
A great way I have found to network, show what I can do and diversify my skills is to volunteer for opportunities outside of my day to day role, whether that’s in my team or across the wider business.
I’m not suggesting you do this on day one, but it’s something to consider as times goes on.
You’ll be presented with many opportunities to be involved with work outside of your norm,. So, I encourage you to consider it, but make sure it aligns with you, provides a purpose and will allow you to make the impact you desire.
This is also a great way to connect with people outside your immediate team and understand how cross-functional units of people work together in your workplace.
Be known for something – what will you bring to the table
The number one thing I say to people in conversations around careers and starting new roles is to be known for something.
Once you’ve taken on a new role and understand what you’re accountable for in the business, think about how you can deliver real impact. In order to deliver impact and bring results, you’ll need to make some big waves and even in the early days, it’s good to think about what you can be known for.
You could be the person who developed a new system to increase efficiency, the lead on a project that delivered over the above results or even the person who was super supportive and always on hand to help their colleagues.
As you grow in your role, some of this will become more apparent in continuing to build your brand.
Every team has players with different skills who are specialists in their particular field. A surefire way to expand your brand is knowing what you bring to the table and being consistent in your delivery of this.
Showcase micro skills that can benefit others
I’ve always found a powerful way to break the ice in a new team or with new colleagues, is to use my skills in niche areas to support others.
An example of this for me would be with technology. I’m a pretty big tech geek, which means I know most of the random things about using tech that the majority don’t. I’m by no means an expert. I like to think of myself as more tech savvy. However, these skills have always come in handy.
If someone in my team needs to understand what the cloud is — I can help with that, need to use a cloud based platform to share documents — I can help with that, how do I use this SharePoint thing — yep me too, how do I make this presentation do animation stuff — hello it’s me again with my parade of what some might call “very useful tech skills”.
The point I’m making is that we all have these micro skills that we use personally, which we can also use to break down walls to connect and help other people.
It doesn’t matter if it’s about technology, presenting/public speaking, drawing or even making origami, we have ways of using these skills (which we might think as useless to anyone else but us) to connect with others in the pursuit of building relationships and our brand.
It’s not all about your job description, we all have a variety of skills that are outside of this framework which we should develop and can use to enhance our brand with those we work with.
Build a great network
Cliched I know, yet nonetheless a very important part of setting yourself up for success is building a strong network around you. Although I don’t always agree with the old saying, it sometimes can be more about who you know than what you know.
A great network can make all the difference in developing your career and skills throughout life.
You never know what information or bits of wisdom you might need in the future, so make sure your network is diverse and full of people that can support your development as you face new challenges.
A strong network can build an equally strong or even stronger brand.
Let your actions do the talking
Personally, this is a very important point for me as I see so many people talk a good game but very few actually deliver.
You’ve got to do the work!
My advice is always to make your actions speak louder than your words.
As I said, lots of people talk a good game but few ever back it up. Don’t be one of these people. Find the right balance between letting people know your capabilities and getting stuff done.
You’ll build a stronger brand by being the hardest worker in the room rather than the loudest.
Do the work, repeat and scale.
Go forth and make your mark
That’s all the wisdom I have to share with you in this one. Follow these tips to build a brand that supports your career and one that you’re proud of.
Before you go… 👋
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