As a communications professional, you’re always focused on promoting your clients. But what have you done lately to promote yourself? If you want to get ahead in your career, you can’t just be good at what you do. You have to think about your personal brand.
While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging. But it’s not just what’s on the outside. It’s a compilation of your vision, mission, values, and personality. This is what you need to think about in the selling of you.
Self-promotion is not always looked upon as a positive attribute. But, if you are serious about advancing your position, raising your profile, or changing careers, it’s time to think about marketing yourself by working on your personal brand. It’s up to you to take the necessary steps to create the brand you want, manage it, and take it in a positive direction to achieve your career goals.
Although you may not have strategically marketed yourself yet, people do perceive you in a particular way. Their perception is based on their experience with you, your track record, and what’s out there about you – the infamous “digital footprint.” Google yourself, examine your social platforms from the view of an outsider, look at past performance reviews and emails in which people have expressed their appreciation. What qualities stand out? What are you known for? What does this picture of you look like? Are you happy with it?
Take a Stand
Maybe you don’t like what you see. Maybe you want to go in a new direction. Is it possible to change your brand? Just ask Madonna. She has invented and re-invented herself so many times in the past 30 years to stay marketable. Consider your career goals, the values that are important to you, what you want to accomplish in your career. Write them down. You may have “winged it “ in high school, when you were class clown, the intellectual, the athlete. But there’s too much at stake now. Decide who you are and, more important, who you want to be.
Where you need to start is your vision and mission The vision statement expresses what you want to achieve in the future, the ideal of what you want to accomplish. What do you enjoy most about your career? What motivates you? What are your greatest strengths?
The mission statement is more about what you want to achieve now and how you will reach your vision. To create your mission statement, think about what you do, how you do it, the target audience, what makes you unique, and the value do you provide.
Your vision and mission statements should give you the laser focus to work towards your goals.
Marketing yourself is not a whole lot different than marketing your clients.Determine your key messages and the vehicles you can use to gain visibility. Online opportunities abound. Share your opinion and your insights and engage with others. As you find your voice, devise a plan for creating your own content and marketing it. Establish your own space online – a website or a blog – that you can use an anchor. Then drive people there from your social platforms. Create your own community. Strive to become a thought leader in your field.
Putting yourself out there might seem intimidating. It takes confidence in your experience and ideas, as well as courage to be visible. A lot of people may have the same knowledge as you do you your field. But if you market yourself better, you will stand out and achieve your goals.
As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Don’t leave it to chance.
Eileen Masciale founded EJM Public Relations after serving as vice president at a New York City PR firm. She is especially passionate about healthcare communications and nonprofits. She works with several major PR firms and is the Consulting Director of Communications for The Marfan Foundation. Reach Eileen by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow her @EileenMasciale.