When you get a new job you can’t expect to walk through the office door a virtuoso.
Establishing your reputation and setting yourself apart from the crowd takes time. This is perfectly fine — good things come with time and patience. It’s not a sprint to climb the staircase of your work life, it is definitely a “steady and paced” endeavor.
Tom Peter’s classic article, The Brand Called You, emphasized the importance of developing your own career brand in our fast-paced world of work, and I agree with his premise. Standing out in a sea of competition can be daunting, and branding is a savvy option to consider. You are your own brand — and you alone have the control to develop that brand wisely. As Peters reflects, you are the “CEO” of you.
Keeping your nose to the grindstone is a great place to start. However, a solid strategy is even better. You need to set a projected path and make the most of every interaction. Whatever you are doing, make a commitment to do it well — no matter the task. Ultimately, it is your behavior, not the prestige of the task, that will identify you as something extraordinary.
What will you be adding to the workplace? Strive to be unique. Be remarkable. Be courageous. Make a solid commitment that your actions (and your attitude) mesh with the brand of a high potential contributor.
How to Brand Yourself as a High Potential
Brand yourself as a strategic listener. Start listening and talk less. Listening is a critical (and often neglected) workplace communication skill. The key here is having the smarts to stay quiet and absorb the knowledge that is around you.
Brand your strengths. Underscore your strengths. What are the two or three areas of expertise that comprise your core value to the organization? Be sure you can speak to these. In fact, develop an elevator pitch explaining your brand — just in case someone directly poses this question. Always be poised to tell your strategic story.
Brand yourself as someone who is self-aware. Be mindful of (but don’t dwell on) your Achilles heel. Your weaknesses can hold you back, so be sure to identify these early on. It may not be the most pleasant of tasks to consider, but tackling impediments head on can help catapult your career forward.
Brand yourself as the link. Moving forward in an organization requires a broader focus today, so be the link. How does your function (and your specific role) relate to the success of your organization? Be sure you understand these connections and contribute in a positive manner. We have a responsibility to communicate, and to build healthy and collaborative work environments.
Brand yourself as an expert. Read more. There are great sites, blogs, journal articles and books to help you get a strong grip on your specific industry. For starters, find out what your manager is reading. Develop talking points that engage others and encourage active discussion.
Brand yourself as a team player. Raise your hand for projects that everyone is avoiding. Remember that the tougher the assignment, the more you’ll stand to learn. Take that risk every once in awhile.
Brand yourself as someone who gets things done. Gather information about how decisions are made. Be aware of the respective contributions of other teams in varying functions. Help to create an atmosphere of creativity, innovation and success. Chart a self-improvement course.
Brand yourself as a self-starter. Don’t wait for others to suggest training and development opportunities — have a list on your radar. Stay alert for development opportunities that will make an impact on your career path and prepare you for the next steps. Don’t ignore the basics (presentation skills, for example), as they are career building blocks.
Do you have a strategy to build your career brand? Share your ideas here.