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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success

Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success

Personal branding has been very hyped up lately, and for good reason. Many people who feel marginalized by the idea of branding themselves now understand that it is inescapable. We all exist as brands, whether we like it or not. That means you Mr. Postman and you Mr. Lawyer!

The first step to branding success is to accept that you’re a brand. Like corporate and product brands, you’re able to use the same marketing strategies to build your brand, get recognized and leverage it to either sell products, get a job or become a celebrity in your niche. There are two main reasons why individuals, like you and me, are labeled as brands.

Why Do We Have Brands?

We’re all judged based on impressions.

The first impression usually depicts whether you end up dating a girl or guy, or whether you get a job or not. Offline, just about everyone we meet will analyze us and decide whether they want to be friends or not.

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Sometimes it may be on appearance alone and other times, it could be based on a single conversation. People label us based on personality, appearance and what we actually do for a living.

Online, first impressions work quite differently because our brands are spread out on social networks, blogs and more. The first time someone “meets us” could be after searching for your name on Google, Facebook or Linkedin. Based on the first result for your name on Google, they will make a decision whether they want to talk to you or not. Based on your social media profile, you may have another contact or not. In this way, we are attracting and repelling certain types of people, without feeling the pain of rejection (one reason why people like online dating).

We’re all salespeople.

People typically don’t purchase product brands that they haven’t heard of. You won’t get opportunities from those who have never heard of your name. In the same respect, you’ll have trouble securing venture capital if you can’t sell your product (and yourself).

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At work, we have to sell our ideas to our management, in order to take on new projects and prove ourself. Even with our circle of friends, we are forced to influence them to go see a certain movie or grab a bite to eat.

We sell everyday, yet most of us don’t look at ourselves in the mirror and say “I’m in sales.”

There’re many reasons why having your personal brand benefit your career, and you can find out more in this article: What Is Personal Branding and Why Is It Important for Your Career?

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What Personal Branding Means for You

A brand is an opportunity to have meaning in your life and to stand out from everyone else around the world.

You, yes you, have unique attributes that no one else has. Some of you have discovered what you’re strengths or talents are, while others have either been afraid to reveal them or are still trying to locate them.

The idea of “brand you” (i.e. how we market ourselves to others) is a proven way to position yourself in a niche and become known. The benefits are that people will come to you for your expertise, and the jobs will follow. By investing in your personal brand, you’re able to do more, with less, especially using the power of social media, and succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

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Forming Your Personal Brand

Before embarking on your personal branding journey, here are a few questions that will help you learn more about yourself, what you want to do and steer you on the right path to success:

  1. If you could do one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
  2. What was your favorite class in college?
  3. Who is your rolemodel and what makes him or her so great?
  4. Describe yourself using 5 attributes (ex. intelligent, vocal, brave)?
  5. Name 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses that you have.
  6. How have people labeled me in the past?
  7. Am I passionate about my current job/career path?

Next, take these steps: 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding

The Bottom Line

Now that you understand the importance of building your personal brand, start to develop your self-branding by understanding your own strengths and unique attributes first.

More Tips About Advancing Your Career

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

More by this author

Dan Schawbel

Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

Congratulations, you’re starting a new job! You’re feeling relieved that the interviews and the wait for a decision from the hiring manager is over, and you’ve finally signed the offer.

Feelings of fear and anticipation may surface now as you think about starting work on Monday. Or you may feel really confident if you have plenty of work experience.

Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones. It’s very common for seasoned professionals to overestimate themselves due to the breadth of their experience.

Companies offer different depths of on-boarding experiences.[1] Ultimately, success in your career depends on you.

Below are 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career.

1. Your Work Starts Before Your First Day

When you prepared for your interview, you likely did some research about the company. Now it’s time to go more in depth.

  • How would your manager like you to prepare for your first day? What are his/her expectations?
  • What other information can your manager provide so that you can start learning more about the role or company?
  • What company policies or reports can you review that can get you acclimatized to your new job and work environment?

You’ll need to embrace a lot of new people and information when you start your new job. What you learn before your first day at work can help you feel more grounded and prepare your mind to process new information.

2. Know Your Role and the Organization

Review the job posting and know your responsibilities. Sometimes, job postings are simplified versions of the job description. Ask your manager or human resources if there is a detailed job description of your role.

Once you understand your key responsibilities and accountabilities, ask yourself:

  • What questions do you have about the role?
  • What information do you need to do your job effectively?
  • Who do you need to meet and start building relationships with?

Continue to increase your knowledge and do your research through the company Intranet site, organizational charts, the media, LinkedIn profiles, the industry and who your company competitors are.

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This is not a one time event. Continue to do this throughout your time with the company. Every team or project you engage with will evolve and change.

Keep current and be ready to adapt by using your observational skills to be aware of changes to your work environment and people’s behaviour.

3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work

Understanding your work culture is key to help you succeed in your career.

Many of these unwritten rules will not be listed on company policies. This means you’ll need to use all of your senses to observe the environment and the people within it.

What should you wear? See what your peers and leaders are wearing. Notice everything from their jewelry down to their shoes. Once you have a good idea of the dress code you can then infuse your own style.

What are your hours of work? What do you notice about start, break and end times? Are your observations different from what you learned at the interview? What questions do you have based on your observations? Asking for clarity will help you make informed decisions and thrive in a new work setting.

What are the main communication channels?[2] What communication mediums do people use (phone, email, in-person, video)? Does the medium change in different work situations? What is your manager’s communication style and preference? These observations will help you better navigate your work environment and thrive in the workplace.

4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions

You got the job, you’re feeling confident and are eager to show how you can contribute. Check the type of language you are using when you’re approaching your work and sharing your experiences.

I’ve heard many new employees say:

  • “I used to do this at ‘X’ company …”
  • “When I worked at “X” company we implemented this really effective process …”
  • “We did this at my other company … how come you guys are not …”
  • “Why are you doing that … we used to do this …”

People usually don’t want to hear about your past company. The experiences that you had in the past are different in this new environment.

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Remember to:

  • Notice your assumptions
  • Focus on your own work
  • Ask questions, and
  • Learn more about the situation before offering suggestions.

You can then better position yourself as a trusted resource that makes informed decisions tailored to business needs.

5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification

Contrary to common belief, asking questions when you’re starting a new job is not a vulnerability.

Asking relevant questions related to your job and the company:

  • Helps you clarify expectations
  • Shows that you’ve done your research
  • Demonstrates your initiative to learn

Seeking to clarify and understand your environment and the people within it will help you become more effective at your job.

6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand

Starting a new job is the perfect time to set clear expectations with your manager and colleagues. Your actions and behaviors at work tells others about your work style and how you like to operate. So it’s essential to get clear on what feels natural to you at work and ensure that your own values are aligned with your work actions.

Here are a few questions to reflect on so that you can clearly articulate your intentions and follow through with consistent actions:

Where do you need to set expectations? Reflect on lessons learned from your previous work experiences. What types of expectations do you need to set so that you can succeed?

Why are you setting these expectations? You’ll likely need to provide context and justify why you’re setting these boundaries. Are your expectations reasonable? What are the impacts on the business?

What are your values? If you value work life balance, but you’re answering emails on weekends and during your vacation time, people will continue to expect this from you. What boundaries do you need to set for yourself at work?

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What do you want to be known for? This question requires some deep reflection. Do you want to be known as a leader who develops and empowers others? Maybe you want to be known for someone who creates an environment of respect where everyone can openly share ideas. Or maybe you want to be someone who challenges people to get outside their comfort zones?

7. Manage Up, Down, and Across

Understanding the work styles of those around you is key to a successful career. Particularly how you communicate and interact with your immediate manager.

Here are a few key questions to consider:

  • How can you make your manager’s job easier?
  • What can you do to anticipate her/his needs?
  • How can you keep them informed (and prepared) so they don’t get caught off-guard?
  • What are your strengths? How can you communicate these to him/her so that they fully understand your capabilities?

These questions can also apply if you manage a team or if you deal with multiple stakeholders.

8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company

It’s important to keep learning from diverse groups and individuals within the company. You’ll get different perspectives about the organization and others may be able to help you succeed in your role.

What types of relationships do you need to build? Why are you building this relationship?

Here are some examples of workplace relationships:

  • Immediate Manager. He/she controls your work assignments. The work can shape the success of your career.
  • Mentors. These are people who are knowledgeable about their field and the company. They are willing to share their experiences with you to help you navigate the workplace and even your career.
  • Direct Reports. Your staff can influence how successful you are at meeting your goals.
  • Mentees. They are another resource to help you keep informed about the organization and your opportunity to develop others.

Other workplace relationships include team members, stakeholders, or strategic partners/sponsors that will advocate for your work.

Learn more in this article: 10 Ways to Build Positive And Effective Work Relationships

9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama

You are part of an ecosystem that has gotten you to where you are today. Every single person and each moment that you have encountered with someone has shaped who you are – both positive and negative.

Here’s How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

Make sure you continue to nurture the relationships that you value and show gratitude to those who have helped you achieve your goals.

Summing It Up

There are many aspects of your career that you are in control of. Observe, listen, and make informed decisions. Career success depends on your actions.

Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones.

Here are the 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career:

  1. Your Work Starts Before Your 1st Day
  2. Know Your Role and the Organization
  3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work
  4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions
  5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification
  6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand
  7. Manage Up, Down, and Across
  8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company
  9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

Celebrate, enjoy your new role, and take good care of yourself!

More Tips About Succeeding in Career

Featured photo credit: Frank Romero via unsplash.com

Reference

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