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7 Personal Branding Strategies That Will Advance Your Career

7 Personal Branding Strategies That Will Advance Your Career

A great way to differentiate yourself in the workplace is to “Brand” yourself as an effective, reliable, trustworthy, and hard-working professional. It’s about more than being productive—it’s about building a reputation as someone who gets things done, can be relied upon and who is considerate of others’ time and effort.

You might not consider your attitude, your interpersonal skills, or even your conduct as factors of productivity, but they are important considerations for employers. Branding yourself as an effective and professional employee can be a significant advantage in advancing your career, regardless of whether you have the most experience, or the most talent: you can ensure that you’re recognized as being one of the most dependable candidates out there.

Best Practices for Professional Branding

1. Respond to voice-mail in a timely manner

This might seem awfully basic, but if somebody leaves you a message, return it. Call back or send an email—whichever you prefer—just as long as you do it within an acceptable time frame (24 hours is fine, or a few days at the most.) Respond even if you don’t have the answer: it’s better to admit that you don’t know something than to ignore the message.

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2. Leave an effective message

This should actually be part of the first tip, but phone tag is so annoying that it deserves its own section. The typical “call me back,” message is not effective. Instead, explain the reason for your call, what you need in return, and the best time to call back. This allows the recipient to gather the information for the return call and leave a response if necessary, thus avoiding the unnecessary back-and-forth exchange.

3. Complete projects by deadline

Be realistic when setting or agreeing upon deadlines; if something comes up that will make it impossible to meet the deadline, inform the other party of the delay and agree on a revised due date. The familiar business saying, “under-promise and over-deliver” is a good strategy to keep in mind.

4. Manage Email Efficiently

The concept of “inbox zero” may seem overwhelming, but make an effort to clean up your inbox each day. The average American worker sends and receives over 100 emails per day, and though your own volume of email may vary, the principal remains the same. Not staying on top of your email leads to missed opportunities and frustration for both the sender and the recipient. The acceptable time window for returning an email is usually even less than with voice-mail, and it’s both a frustrating and a waste of time for people to have to fire off a reminder email to follow up on the previous one.

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Set aside a period of time each morning (30 – 60 minutes) to take care of your inbox emails, and do so again in the afternoon. If this seems impossible, it’s likely that you’re either receiving too many emails, (reduce newsletters and notices, and if possible, suggest to your team that they not copy everyone unless necessary,) or you’re not processing your inbox efficiently. (Hint: Use 4D’s method – Delete, Do, Delegate, Defer.)

5. Follow-up

When a task or project has been completed, send a brief email to confirm that the required action has been taken. This may be as simple as a quick email just saying “Task done” or a summary of actions completed.

6. Step Up

Take on additional responsibilities when possible, such as volunteering for projects or taking a leadership role if appropriate. When you do more than what you absolutely have to, you demonstrate motivation and effectiveness. Most importantly, do a great job: don’t take on something that you don’t think you can do well, as excellence is far better than adequacy.

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7. Get Along:

The ability to get along with co-workers and be a part of a team is a valuable asset. Excellent interpersonal skills will help you stand out from the higher-maintenance employees, and will also increase the likelihood that you will be given a leadership role, thus improving your chances for career advancement both with your current employer, and future ones.

Branding yourself as an effective, reliable, productive employee is one of the most valuable strategies to advance your career. You have to do the work anyway, so why not save yourself time and build trust along the way? Doing so will pay off in success dividends later on.

 

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Royale Scuderi

A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Frank Romero via unsplash.com

Reference

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