Career Advice: Building Your Brand
You've been doing the same job for a while and realize that you've outgrown your current role. You want a promotion or at the very least an opportunity to spearhead the challenging/sexy projects your colleagues always get. You're mad because you've expressed these feelings to your boss, but no one recognizes your unique skill set. Who's to blame? Is it your boss? Or you? It's not your boss' responsibility to make you promotion ready. That's your job. Here's how you do it.
Dress for the career you want.
I live by this motto. How do leaders in your organization dress or carry themselves? Pay attention to that but don't copy; put your unique spin on it. It's important to remember that you aren't doing this just to impress other people, but I guarantee they will be impressed. You are doing this for you. If you dress like a leader, you will start to see yourself as one. Tip: Embody the look even before a position becomes available.
Always be learning.
Okay, it's not proper English but it's easy to remember. Stay abreast of the latest tips, tools and developments in your field. This knowledge will separate you from the pack. Want to be a manager? Read business, leadership or management books. Before I received my first promotion, I read management books religiously. My favorite is Winning by Jack Welch. I read it every morning during my subway ride to work, which was perfect because I came to work with a leader's mindset. So my advice to you is to read a book month. Whatever your career interests are, there's a book out there that can teach more about the topic. When you finish a chapter think about how you apply that lesson to your workplace. If books aren't your thing, attend an educational seminar or conference. And if your employer offers tuition reimbursement, challenge yourself even further by pursuing an advanced degree. Tip: Read at least one book a month.
Get an advocate or advocates.
The advocate can be your boss, colleague, or other leaders in your organization. This person is essentially your in-house publicist. If your advocate loves the work you do and thinks you bring unique value to the organization they will tell anyone who'll listen. The more people you have authentically singing your praises the better. Tip: Jot down at least 3 advocates in your organization. Find time to meet with them this week.
Get professional advice.
You look the part, have taken the initiative to educate yourself and found advocates...now you may want to consider getting a career coach. A mentor is another option. Personally, I prefer a career coaches because not only do you get undivided attention, but more importantly, you have an accountability, partner. A coach can help you define your values, set goals and create an action plan to achieve it. Having an objective third party looking out for your best interests is the best investment you can make in yourself. I had a business coach before I received my second promotion. At that time, I'd been with my employer for almost 10 years and wanted to find growth opportunities. She helped me create an action plan based on my organization's success pillars which helped me showcase strategic and critical thinking skills. Tip: Invest in yourself. Find a coach or mentor.
Lastly, the most important thing you can do is to be confident. If you follow all these steps, and believe in yourself every step of the way, you'll be unstoppable. Go take action. Find the career, job or business you've been searching for.
Let me know if this advice is helpful. And, if you have advice that has helped you succeed in your career, please share.
Image from RKCSouthern