8 tips build strong personal brand advance career

Follow these 8 tips to build a strong personal brand and advance your career

Article originally published in the Philadelphia Business Journals on February 24, 2020

There are many ways to differentiate yourself from your peers so that you have an advantage to win that next job, whether internally or at a new company. Building your personal brand is a way to achieve that differentiation.

In September 2018, I wrote an article headlined, “How to build your personal brand and achieve professional success.” This is an update of that article.    

All of us are familiar with a business brand. It’s the marketplace recognition of the promise of a company or professional services firm to meet or exceed the high expectations of its customers or clients in the delivery of products or services. Less familiar is a personal brand, which is the recognized promise of an individual to help a customer, client or employer be successful in their business.

Customers and clients buy from companies with strong brands, such as Nike, Mercedes, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Starbucks, to name a few. These companies have a reputation for consistently offering high-quality products or services, and delivering a great customer experience.

Companies with a great brand reputation have a competitive advantage. They are the companies that customers and clients want to do business with.

The same holds true for a personal brand. Individuals develop a reputation such that clients want to do business with them. Employers want to promote them to their next job within the company or hire them as new employees. They differentiate themselves and develop a competitive advantage over their peers. 

So, how do you build your personal brand?

  1. Practice effective leadership

    Be known as a leader who creates a culture in which employees are empowered and encouraged to develop a sense of ownership in what they do. Exercise caution if without good reason and prior discussion, you decide to abruptly override a decision of someone in your organization in an area over which they have responsibility and authority. Let them do their jobs. You lose the respect of your people, especially if it is apparent you are not exercising independent judgment, but just pleasing your boss. It damages your credibility and makes you look bad. Some employees may resign. It demotivates those who remain, which hurts your reputation. Be a boss people want to work for.

  2. Develop a reputation for honesty and integrity 

    Be a leader who can be trusted to do the right thing. People will not want to do business with those they don’t trust. Attack issues, not people. If you make a commitment to someone, be sure to keep that commitment. They may have made a commitment to others based on your commitment to them.

  3. Do your job and do it well 

    Develop a reputation within your company, client base and industry as someone who achieves results and is a problem solver and facilitator with high emotional intelligence. Be an individual who improves business processes and is someone who brings people together to find common ground.

  4. Develop your reputation as a thought leader

    You want to be a recognized authority in your field of expertise. Volunteer to speak in front of groups. Write articles or blogs on LinkedIn and other digital media platforms on industry trends and on being an effective leader. Help others be successful. Exercise caution not to criticize the company at which you work or its leaders and don’t reveal confidential information.

  5. Develop a website

    A website is a great repository for showcasing who you are and what you do. When interviewing for a new job, your website is a source of information for the company vetting you for a position.

  6. Develop networking skills

    Attend industry conferences and network with other attendees. Your goal should not be to hand out as many business cards as possible at these events, but to develop relationships with a small number of attendees. Connect other people with common interests or who can be helpful to each other. Become well known by others within your industry.

  7. Always have the right attitude 

    It is a significant determinant of your success. Develop a reputation for seeing a world of possibilities and abundance, vs. seeing only limitations and scarcity. Individuals with a positive attitude move forward in their career. Those with a negative attitude do not.

  8. Always be on a journey to be the best in the world at what you do

    The first six words in “Good to Great,” a book by Jim Collins on leadership are, “Good is the enemy of great.” Never settle for “good enough.” Developing your brand is a work in progress that never ends.

Follow the advice above to build your personal brand. It will help you advance your career. When employers vet potential new employees, they look for the traits identified above. 

Stan Silverman is founder and CEO of Silverman Leadership and author of “Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success.” He is also a speaker, advisor and  widely read nationally syndicated columnist on leadership, entrepreneurship and corporate governance. He can be reached at Stan@SilvermanLeadership.com.

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