Use Your Personal Brand to Build Your Reputation and Rock Your Career
We have all seen lots of products and brands marketed on many different mediums, such as TV, Magazines, Internet, etc. But have you ever considered how to market yourself and your career? “Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” Being intentional with crafting your image at work and outside of work shapes how you as a “brand” will be viewed professionally.
When you think about your professional image, it can be defined in this way which comes from Laura M. Roberts: “Your professional image is the set of qualities and characteristics that represent perceptions of your competence and character as judged by your key constituents (i.e. clients, colleagues, superiors, subordinates.)”
People will make snap judgments within the first 2–3 seconds of meeting you. How do you want people to see you or think about you in terms of your reputation and career?
Is Your Personal Brand Affecting Your Career Growth?
One of the most difficult things for people to understand is why they aren’t getting promoted when they perform their job well? Performing well at your job is something that is expected from everyone. It is the minimum requirement to get you into the running for a promotion and it is only one piece of the puzzle. What you need in addition to performance, is a positive image and reputation.
Your image is how you present yourself in front of other people and your senior management. How you are being perceived and how others promote you in conversations speaks to your reputation. You can be a high performer, but without having a strong reputation and the ability to project a positive image, it would be highly difficult to get promoted. Management is looking for someone who already has all the pieces of the puzzle in place, so they are ready for the job.
Remember that perception is reality, so you can’t leave your personal brand and credibility to chance. Mallory Stark said, “If you aren’t managing your own professional image, someone else is.” Do you know how people view your reputation and image? It’s important for you to find out.
The Six Components of Credibility
Credibility is such an important piece of your Personal Brand. Expertise, trust, composure, conviction, energy and appearance are the six components that are usually included when you look at the credibility of someone. Measuring it is challenging, because it is not always in your control. It may be based on the collective set of other people’s opinions. If your credibility needs to be improved, then it is important to focus on being your best in these six areas every single day.
- Expertise by continuing to learn and becoming a subject matter expert
- Trust by creating authentic and genuine relationships that support the success of each person
- Composure by remaining calm and supporting others as they go through challenges or major change
- Conviction by using your influence to move things forward and demonstrating courage to stand up for what you believe in
- Energy by showing up for conversations with the passion that you have for the topic being discussed
- Appearance by dressing appropriately for the role that you have or that you want
Think about your credibility as a savings account that you continue to put deposits into each day. When you need to draw against your “credibility account” it will be available with a surplus that you can use. This can help you when you have a day when you aren’t at your best. People will give you the benefit of the doubt because of the high level of credibility that you have been collecting all this time.
First Impressions Matter
Your personal brand is judged by people each and every day, usually in the first few seconds. As soon as they meet you they are looking at your appearance, listening to what you say and also how you say things. Their brain automatically measures you against an ideal they have in their head.
You have to decide if your brand reflects who you want to be. Your credibility and reputation are at stake, which can be affected forever if things are heading in the wrong direction. Think about popular celebrities who were at the top of their game. They do something that crossed a line for people and their credibility was damaged. These celebrities may be able to come back from those situations, but there will always be a mark on their record that people talk about.
Define what you want your personal brand to be and begin “being” that person. It is as simple as that. If there are things in your brand that aren’t where you want them to be, then ask for help to improve them. I have seen these perceptions change, but consistency is key for people to see “your new brand” and believe it.
What is your personal brand saying about you?
Want to improve your personal brand and have the career you dream of? Sue Barber is a certified coach specializing in executive presence and leadership development. To learn more about her services, visit www.susanmbarber.com.