Personal Branding: The Key To Your Professional Success
Guest Post by Jessica Marventano
Most of us in the business world work for someone else – usually an organization. It can be large, like a corporation or a national non-profit. Or it can be small like a boutique law firm, communications firm, or some other service firm. Or it can be something cutting edge like a tech start-up. Wherever we work, if we are professionals, we spend time protecting and advancing that organization’s brand. It is part of our job.
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But the one thing we often overlook is our own personal brand. In fact, most of us don’t even cultivate a personal brand. Instead, we just kind of get one and it follows us through our career. Most of us think if we do our job well, all will be ok.
Moreover, most of us think, who has the TIME to cultivate an intentional personal brand? Well, you need to make the time. We all need to focus on taking care of ourselves first. It’s not a selfish, vain, manufactured or conceited thing to do.
You have heard the directions on every flight, “put your own air mask on first before helping others.” The same applies here.
Why Is A Personal Brand Important?
A personal brand will help both you and your employer. When you look good so does your organization.
And if you have the entrepreneurial bug and work for yourself? Working on your personal brand is a force multiplier in terms of helping your own business – because you are the business.
You need to think about what you want to represent. What do you want others to think – and not think of you? What do you want to achieve? Once you can answer these questions you can start acting toward that end and make better professional decisions that fit that narrative.
A personal brand separates you from others. And if you have a good personal brand, it helps you do your current job well, as well as help you get a better job, make better contacts and enjoy industry recognition.
Make Social Skills Part Of Your Brand
Whatever your personal brand, in the business world you do better when you are well-mannered, confident, and treat others the way they would like to be treated.
We have all heard the saying, “one rarely succeeds alone in business.” It’s a saying for a reason, namely because it’s true.
People like to do business with people they like and who make them feel good. Don’t you feel that way too? Of course, you do!
Don’t you prefer to interact with colleagues, bosses, clients, and subordinates who are kind, nice, fun and respectful (as well as can get the job done well)?
You can be the smartest, most talented one in the room but if no one likes to work with you, chances are you won’t be a success. In fact, studies show that 85% of one’s professional success is connected to one’s social skills.
When I say “social skills,” I mean how you present yourself to the world and how you interact with others. Your level of confidence, whether you are fun or enjoyable to be around. You help put others at ease and in turn, help them do their best. People want to be around you.
The great thing here is that these are skills you can learn. And social skills help you be better at your job. Your work product improves when you’re engaged and using your social skills. You can knock projects out of the park and your day is more productive and more pleasant. It’s a win-win for everyone!
If you want to develop solid social skills to get ahead in your career, you need to develop an intentional personal brand that exudes confidence, competence and includes being well-mannered.
An astounding 55 percent of the impression others have of you is based on the messages your body sends in terms of the confidence you exude, your body language, and the way you look. Without even realizing it, your body is constantly talking to the outside world. Resultantly, we should focus there.
Tips To Up Your Social Skill And Find Your Personal Brand
Tip #1: Focus On Your Posture.
Easily show some self-confidence by simply standing tall with your head held high.
Imagine a ribbon affixed to the top of your head is being pulled up by a balloon, bringing your head with it. Your shoulders should be rolled down and back with your shoulder blades pulled closer together.
When you stand tall and proud you feel better and act better. Likewise, when you slouch you are telling the world you are self-conscious and feel drained and dreary.
With so many of us hunched over our iPhones, Androids, iPads, and computers we all need to make a conscious effort to be mindful of our posture.
Tip #2: Dress For Success.
The image you project sets the tone for your business success. The goal of your work wardrobe should be to dress with taste so that your appearance works for you, not against you, to advance your career.
Our buzzword is “appropriate”. When you dress appropriately your wardrobe is suitable for your body, your age, the occasion, your particular workplace, the weather, and your wallet.
When you dress appropriately, your appearance will help you develop your career. It won’t ever damage your career.
When you aren’t appropriate, it can cause others to question your judgment and abilities in general. We recommend finding colors and cuts that flatter you and don’t deviate from them.
Not sure if your particular outfit is appropriate? If it distracts others from recognizing your skills and contributions at work or your peers and higher-ups don’t take you seriously, then your outfit is not appropriate. It is not working for you.
Look at how others dress in your organization and take cues from leadership. The image you project sets the tone for your business success. You get to decide what you say with your appearance. Choose wisely.
Tip #3: Make Time For Manners.
By this we mean, be on time. As we all try to cram more productivity into every day, hour and minute of the workday, it’s so easy to lose control of your day, be late for meetings, and miss important phone calls and deadlines.
It is critical to intentionally make the time to be the thoughtful person you are meant to be. Managing your schedule and being on time helps you do this. When you’re on time you’re letting others know that you respect them and value their time. You also look better when you aren’t running from meeting to meeting flustered and full of excuses.
One of the best ways to start the day off on the right foot is to prepare the night before by picking out your outfit, packing your workbag and put everything you need by the door so you can avoid last minute rushing. Those ten extra minutes the night before can save you twice as long in getting ready time in the morning.
Follow these three key tips and you will be well on your way to developing a personal brand that will lead to your business success.
About the author: Jessica is a power politico by day and manners and kindness expert on the side. She and her mom have launched the successful game, The Kindness Kingdom, and just released their book, “The Marvelous Millennial’s Manual to Modern Manners.”