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Build your personal brand at work

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Apple challenged the world to “Think Different.” Nike encouraged people regardless of age, gender, or physical fitness level, to “Just Do It.” Dunkin’ Donuts persuaded busy professionals that “America Runs on Dunkin’.” In just a handful of words, these slogans have told a story and influenced how people perceive the organizations behind them. But branding isn’t just for companies. Professionals each have their own story to tell and goals, skills, and expertise to share. Some people working for big firms pride themselves in working for big fancy name. One day when the company starts laying off people, they quickly realize their personal brand existence is so weak that the higher management doesn't realize any unique value they contribute to the company. When they leave the big fancy name, they are "nobody".

Today I want to talk about a different topic. I was never a fan of colleagues who seemed to brag or self-promote at work. However, early on in my career, my manager told me that if no one else in the company actually knows about my work accomplishments, those accomplishments won’t really count for much.

Hearing this was a bit of a rude awakening for me. Up until that point, I’d always presumed that my work would speak for itself. I assumed that if I worked hard, the quality and impact would be obvious. Quickly I have discovered the power and necessity of positive PR on your personal level even when you get an opportunity to work at a big fancy name. You will want people to remember who you truly are and what are you known for , not just where you are at.

1. Help other people is to help yourself

If the guy across to your cabinet helps you figure out how to run that excel sheet quickly, you surely would like to ask for his help again. I am not saying you should do excel for everyone in the office but just to put the same logic here, you should take the opportunity to deliver your value by helping others. This can speak out what you are really good at can quickly boost your brand presence in your organization and of course confirm your positive character as " helper" in the office.

2. Constantly Gather Feedback From Your Immediate Team

  • In which areas of work do I excel?

  • What characteristics have others complimented or criticize me on?

  • Which projects have others had remembered during my presence here

  • Am I a team player or a team leader?

By understanding how people perceive you, you can start sending the right messages and avoid coming off the wrong way when you communicate. List out your objections and what other people perceive you and then you will know where you need to improve.

I know to become a good customs broker, i need to be diligent, organized, patient, high level of integrity, high level of problem-solving skills, etc. If people think I am very "creative " to know how to break the law in order to help clients' objectives, I think that would be so wrong. As a good customs broker, you would never want to be too " creative" because you represent U.S Customs laws and regulations.

3. Network Internally Beyond Your Immediate Team

I pride myself on being a hard worker. If you ask any of my former colleagues, they wouldn’t describe me as the chattiest guy in the office. In fact, they would probably instead say that I tended to put my head down and just work away for hours without interruption. On the one hand, that work ethic allowed me to be quite efficient and productive, but on the other, it may have come at the cost of spending more time with colleagues at the water cooler. it really takes me a very long time to practice small talks or elevator pitch with fellow colleagues and managers. Gradually I understand the power of building a personal brand through internal networking and relationship building.

If it is a big organization, always start with your name, title, your department, what your area of expertise as the introduction.

If there is big company news or industry news, share it with internal network by email.

4. Create Your Online Presence

If you don't have time for it, at least consider building your professional portfolios on Linkedin and participate in Linkedin discussions once a while. it could be a webinar meeting or group discussions etc.

Building a strong personal brand is a choice. Personal branding takes time, effort, and energy. if you do, you will soon realize many job referrals are done through such connections you build up over the long term. If you don’t, you may be leaving yourself open to being labeled in ways that don’t align with the type of professional you want to be.

Have some thoughts? Let us chat

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