How to build your personal and professional brand
Whether you're aiming for a promotion, or hoping to turn your side hustle into a full-blown business, building your personal and professional brand can make a world of difference. Whatever your specialty may be, you should be taking the necessary steps to position yourself as an expert in your given industry and a leading source of knowledge when it comes to your respective expertise. Branding a personal or professional image is very much like branding a product- it's best to begin with clearly defined goals and a solid vision for how you'd like your professional brand to be perceived. From here, you can begin to align yourself with opportunities that allow you to step into your new role as "industry expert"!
1. Keep an eye out for ways to be more engaged at work
One way to begin carefully curating your personal and professional brand is start saying "yes" to projects that align with the professional "look" you're going for. Once you've established the vision for what your professional brand will look like, you'll be able to easily narrow down the key points you'd like to be known for. From here, make an effort to begin aligning yourself with various opportunities around the office in order to play up that role. Think about where you want to be in a few years, then consider taking on the projects that will help you best achieve that goal.
2. Speaking opportunities
Standing on stage in front of your colleagues may not sound like a good time, but it can do wonders for building your professional reputation. Look for opportunities to contribute your knowledge and expertise during industry conventions as either a keynote speaker, or as part of an expert panel. By doing so, you'll be able to establish yourself as a trusted leader in your given industry. Be open to sharing your professional experience, and don't forget to engage in a little Q&A after just for good measure.
3. Speak up in meetings
If you're someone who dreads team meetings, it's time to change your perspective. This is the perfect opportunity to contribute your ideas and expertise! By speaking up and voicing an opinion in team meetings, you'll be able to set yourself apart. We can likely all agree, the quiet guy in the corner probably isn't known for...well, much of anything. When contributing to the conversation, it's important to keep it relevant and on-topic. Start by asking questions, and then ease into offering ideas and feedback when applicable. Keep an eye out for windows of opportunity where you can add value to the conversation, specifically around subject matter directly related to your desired professional brand.
4. Check in with other departments
If you work in an office, it can be easy to stick to your own department since you're likely together all day, every day. However, by making an effort to cross-network internally, and check in from time to time across departments, you'll be able to offer insight into what's happening within your area of expertise. If you're able to keep fellow colleagues abreast of the latest news in your specific niche, you'll likely be seen as the "go-to" source in the future; keeping you top of mind for any upcoming relevant opportunities.
5. Share your voice online
There are groups and online forums for just about anything these days. Take some time to peruse Facebook groups and industry specific sites for opportunities to offer professional insight. For example, set up a Quara account and start following conversation threads pertaining to your professional expertise. Jump into conversations, and make it a point to answer the public inquiries that are best suited for your professional skill set. Often times, these sites will keep track of how many questions you've answered, and even how those answers were ranked amongst users - think of it as having a Yelp account for your professional brand! This is a great way to build credibility around your personal or professional brand, and establishing yourself as an expert in your industry!