Employee Effectiveness Series

Personal Branding: 10 Tips to Get You Started

I rank the need for a deliberate approach towards personal branding very high. In my opinion, its import cannot be over-emphasized. People often go about their day-to-day activities unaware of the impressions that are being formed about them. You may think nothing of what your parents or siblings think of you but what of the wider circle: a prospective client? Your colleagues?

Some dismiss the relevance of projecting a good public image while others are careful not to conform to a world which is both materialistic and ‘appearance’ driven. Rather than join what they term ‘the rat race’ they prefer and heavily rely on the confidence gained from skill, expertise as well as the plethora of accomplishments that make up for whatever may be lacking in appearance. While this may have worked for some, not all are as fortunate.

We find ourselves in a world where sometimes, the first impression is all we ever get, or at best it’s the most lasting one. Thus the question: why fall victim when what needs to be done is to be aware and conscious of what is projected to the public?

Just as in every other sphere of life, it is useful to project an image that accurately describes what you stand for in the workplace. Here are a few ideas/tips that could point you in the right direction:

#1 Portray yourself in the light of how you want to be seen by others but more importantly, ensure a match between who you are on the inside and what you display on the outside.

#2 People would usually deal with you based on what they perceive you to be. This may be extended to such things as being more conscious of those habits, choice of words, behaviours, managerial styles, amongst others, that do not accurately describe you to others.

#3 In a world of constant competition, one where expertise has become commonplace, be sure to be known for something. Ensure you bring more to the table than is expected of you. It is often said: those who get rewarded are those who have exceeded the expectations set before them. The workplace could be likened to a sport where everyone else is after their respective interests/targets/goals. If you don’t take charge of yours, no one else will.

#4 Don’t be passive, put yourself out there. Don’t just participate, be ‘seen’ to be productive. It’s brilliant being the office favourite as long as you understand that it has nothing do with getting you the next promotion. Ultimately, organizations reward only those employees who are consistently seen to be productive.

#5 It’s good to believe you deserve to be treated better than you presently are; I believe you do too :). Do something constructive about it; never assume a pitiful sorry look would get you the sort of recognition you desire.

#6 Be deliberate about your input. It isn’t enough to simply be administrative about your duties, give it more thought than just seeking to cross it off your to-do-list.

#7 Know your Key Performance Indicators ahead of time. Be aware of whatever may be expected of you. Expectations or atleast, knowing what serves as a benchmark for subsequent performance evaluation will serve as a personal guide for matching outcomes with expectations.

#8 Your mindset is key. Work-up considerable interest about the job. The attitude you go in with sets the pace for how you will perform on your tasks. Come in with a plan. Know your strengths. If you are a specialist, constantly look for opportunities to learn and expand your portfolio of achievements.

#9 It’s alright to seek to get your work noticed. Opportunities exist at the work place. Search them out. Get your work noticed but be careful not to do it at the expense of another’s reputation or accomplishment. Remember, there is a life outside of the workplace. The whole aim is to expand your network, not to burn your bridges.

#10 Finally, be consistent with your personal brand. Be sure to bear in mind that every action either builds or erodes it. Practice what you preach at all times.

Building/enhancing your personal brand isn’t about putting up a front or living a lie. It has more to do with refining ourselves in such ways as to improve on the good while eliminating the negatives. It advances the notion of consistently being at our best at all times and in so doing, ensuring the world sees us in the best possible light. More importantly, it is about ‘standing out’ -positively!

Any other practical ideas you may have on how to go about building a positive personal brand could be shared…