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Published on: HR Coaching & Mentoring

How to build your personal brand to stand out and get promoted

Setting yourself apart from your co-workers can be tricky, especially if you work for a large organisation. A personal brand in the workplace is essentially what people know you for.

Remember, you are your brand and you live it every day.

It is your behaviour, your attitude, your skill set, your work history, the way you present yourself, and your social or professional connections. Having a positive and well-known personal brand could make all the difference when it comes to promotion time.

If you are in the running for a promotion – or you want to be – building your personal brand is crucial. It’s time to give yourself some personal PR and build a personal brand to get ahead of the rest!

Here are my thoughts on where to focus your attention

Know your skills and strengths
You can’t promote your skills if you haven’t figured out what they are yet. Have a think about what you really excel at in the office. What kind of work do you enjoy? What projects have you had the biggest successes on?Perhaps there are some extra training opportunities you could take on, or you could even offer to coach other employees in things you are really proficient with. This is a great way to show what you can do and get yourself the attention of senior staff and managers.

Look at your social media footprint
You might think that your external footprint has no bearing on internal promotion prospects, but that simply isn’t the case.  When it comes to personal branding, the internal and external positioning can overlap.

When someone googles your name, what comes up? What do the search results tell the reader about you? Try this out and look at the results carefully. What aspect do you think are a true reflection? What’s missing?

Note down what you notice – the good, the bad and the… less than ideal – and draw up an action plan to make improvements.

Update your profile shots
How old is your profile picture, and what impression does it portray?  It is remarkable how many Linked In profiles are blurred party or holiday shots.  Something hastily chosen when setting the profile up that shows the fewest wrinkles, probably because it completely out of focus, or taken from a 100 paces, or taken over 5 years ago.

Professional headshots are not just the domain of the self-employed.  Nor are the professional shots offered in-house in many companies necessarily the ones to go with either.  In my experience, the dreaded corporate photoshoot involves herding volumes of people through, on a drizzly November afternoon.  You’re knee-sliding through the door, squeezing it in between back-to-back meetings.  If you’re lucky you might have 20 seconds to dash to the loo and frantically apply lippy/check your teeth for spinach. They quickly snap 5 shots without even asking your name. And then someone in the marketing team randomly picks one and whacks it on the internet. Job done. It’s no wonder they are generally truly awful.

Take back control and invest in your own images.  Choose a photographer who pays attention to the importance of personal brand, and takes time getting to know what image you want to portray.  If done right, the images will outlive the suit or outfit you choose to wear that day.

Build your network
Make sure people know who you are and what you do. This could be done casually around the office by opening your work social circle to new people. Or, you could do something a bit more formal by attending networking events or joining professional social groups. Mixing both an informal and formal approach would have the best result and expose you to a lot more people.

When you are trying to build up your network it is important to do so in a genuine way. Don’t just focus on the people who you think can get you somewhere. They might become wary of you if they think you are trying too hard! Be open to and supportive of everybody so – you never know what opportunities may arise from a seemingly random connection.

I talk more about a few tips to network more effectively in another blog

Communicate with your manager
Your manager should be aware of your day-to-day work already, but you want to make sure you are really highlighting your progress and achievements to them. Set up a regular time to meet and keep a record of all the milestones and projects you have successfully completed. Your manager will have to endorse you for any potential promotion, so make sure they are well informed and you have them on side!

Put your hand up
If you hear about a new project that your skills would be a great fit for – ask to be involved! Don’t sit and let the opportunities be handed to other people. Let your manager know if you have capacity to take on new tasks and see if they can find you something interesting. It is likely they will have knowledge of goings-on in other parts of the business that you might not know about.

Get a coach or mentor
It can be very beneficial to connect with someone who has valuable experience to offer you. It might be a specialist career coach, or someone from within your organisation who is more experienced and prepared to take you under their wing. This is a great way to get invaluable knowledge that you might have otherwise missed, but it also demonstrates an interest in learning and developing yourself.

Don’t be shy about your successes
If you have worked hard on something and it has turned out great, let people know! It doesn’t have to obnoxious or awkward. Just ensure that you receive credit where credit is due, and certainly don’t let anyone take the credit for your hard work. If you have regular staff newsletters or team catch ups, you can take those opportunities to talk to others about your completed projects.

If you are really serious about taking your personal brand to the next level, write down three things you are going to commit to doing to get closer to that promotion you deserve.

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