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Fostering your “employee brand”: Part 1
Starting today you are a brand.
Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We all have a chance to stand out - to learn, and to improve our skills - everyone has a chance to better their individual “brand”. It's time to take a lesson from the big brands, in how to market ourselves effectively.
To be specific, your personal brand is the collection of values, experiences and associations that people attach to you. In short, it’s what peers and associates think about when they hear your name mentioned. It is what they'll say about you if they are called on a reference check.
We are all individuals, but unless we have a positive personal brand we will be invisible both to existing colleagues and to search executives, looking for the next bright star to fill a vacancy. We have to showcase what makes us special. What are we famous for now? What do we want to be famous for in the future?
Having a positive personal brand is also important to your team, your department and the wider organization. You are the figurehead, the leader, and the main representative to the rest of the business. It is about your ability to build a personal brand which transcends your current job title and makes you an attractive prospect for internal promotion and to external companies.
So how can you develop the kind of personal brand that leading employers want to recruit and retain? Here are some useful tips:
1. Research your brand and determine what makes you different
Start by figuring out what your brand currently is, and where it needs to be. Ask yourself: “What kind of employee am I?” and “What do I want to be known for?”
Identify the qualities or characteristics that separate you from your competitors -- or your colleagues. What have you done lately -- this week -- to make yourself stand out? What would your past or present colleagues or customers say is your greatest and clearest strength?
Start thinking like a brand manager, ask yourself: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it.
2. Enhance your brand
There's no limit to the ways you can go about enhancing your brand. Sign up for an extra project within your organization, just to introduce yourself to new colleagues and showcase your skills -- or work on new ones. Or, take on a freelance project that gets you in touch with a totally novel group of people. If you can get them singing your praises, they'll help spread the word about what a remarkable contributor you are.
Try teaching a class at a community college, or in your own company. Try contributing a column or an opinion piece to your local newspaper or try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop. You’ll get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you.
Part two will be released next Monday, in the mean time, take our survey and enter our personal branding survey.