11 October, 2018

Ask a Career Coach: How to Differentiate Yourself in the Workplace

11 October, 2018

Looking to step up and stand out at work? Millennial Leadership Coach, Fyiona Yong is here with simple, effective steps to achieve the recognition you deserve.

Do you want to improve your chances of getting hired? Gain visibility and build a reputation in your company? Do you want to expand your professional network and open up more professional opportunities? Whether you’re an entrepreneur, seeking out a job, or looking for the next promotion – your personal brand can help elevate your attributes and strengths to help you differentiate yourself from the rest.

Personal branding isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a necessity. People want to do business and interact with those they trust. Don’t look at branding as self-promotion, look at it as self-differentiation. Your personal brand is your career, your business insurance policy, and your reputation both online and off. There is a reason why executives and professionals are starting to pay attention to and invest in a personal brand. With the state of today’s job market, it is becoming increasingly challenging for individuals to stand out from their peers and competitors.

The purpose of your personal brand is to stand out for the right reasons. Learn to identify what your unique view of the world is and capitalise on it to show others the value your unique perspective can bring to the table.

Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.

– Jeff Bezos

Personal branding is known as the act of using your career and personality to market yourself positively in the eyes of others. It allows us to differentiate ourselves by consistently articulating and leveraging our unique value proposition. The tricky part is that our personal brand does not only reflect what we want it to be but also others perceptions of us. Creating a personal brand doesn’t have to be complicated and I want to share a short and simple guide to help you begin crafting your personal brand.

career coach: personal branding

Personal Branding Ground Rules:

1. Be authentic
2. Be consistent
3. Continuously add value

Step 1: Self-discovery and Your Expertise

Creating a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. The first step to success is always self-awareness. We need to know what we do best and that there is substance and credibility, in what we are talking about. You need to be aware of what you have to add to the conversation and relationship.

  • What are your goals? What is your aim with your personal brand?
  • What are your core values that help guide your path and the decisions you make?
  • How do others describe you?
  • What are the compliments people make about you?

If you have already identified the skills and strengths you have, you’re already ahead in building your personal brand.

Step 2: Your Audience and Their Problems

Understand your target audience and what they want most – whether they are your clients, hiring managers, or senior executives within your organisation.

  • What are the challenges and concerns they are facing?
  • How can you help them better than anyone else?
  • What is the possible solution to their problem?

Personal branding is not only a reflection of who you are but also how you are able to help solve concerns and problems of those around you whilst leveraging on your strengths, skills, and experiences.

Personal branding is not about you. It’s about putting your stamp on the value you deliver to others.”

– William Arruda

Step 3: Your Authentic Voice and Your Passion

When we are passionate and enthusiastic about something, it can be felt by others. This is where we feel like we’re ‘in the zone’. We can commit and persevere, despite the struggles we may face, if we are passionate about what we do. This will make us not consistent in following through when things get tough – and, as a bonus, passion is also contagious.

  • What’s something you could talk about forever and never get tired of?
  • What are you extremely passionate about?

You have to be consistent to ‘walk your talk’ and stay authentic. Apart from expressing your brand message, you also have to model and reinforce.

career coach: personal branding

Step 4: Communicate Your Brand with Consistency

Congratulations! You have now identified your brand promise. Make sure it describes what value you offer, whom it is intended for and how it differentiates you from others. A good Brand Promise is short, easily memorised, simple, and easily understood.

Once you are clear with your Personal Brand message, you need to broadcast and amplify it. This can happen through a combination of platforms that reach your target audience and play to your strengths e.g. speaking opportunities, joining and leading employee resource groups and networks and social media.

Before you go out into the world to broadcast and showcase your Personal Brand, ensure that you follow the 3 Cs of Personal Branding:

  1. Clarity (Your Unique Promise of Value): Brand Promise
  2. Consistency (Walk Your Talk): Brand Experience
  3. Constancy (Constant Visibility to Target Audience): Brand Communication

Ensure that your personal brand promise stays consistent, both online and offline. You have to demonstrate consistency across your communication, gravitas and appearance. Don’t underestimate how tiny inconsistencies can derail personal brand effectiveness.

Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.

–  Tim Ferris 

Like everything in life, we need to continuously evolve to stay relevant – especially in the fast paced environment we’re in. This applies to our personal brand as well. Ensure that you assess your brand regularly and gather feedback by asking others for their views, recommendations and constructive feedback.

Please understand that you have full control over your brand and that personal branding costs hardly any money but does takes time and patience. Always remember that what you are doing matters, how you are doing it is important, but why you are doing it is critical.

Read more: Ask a Career Coach: How to Deal with Office Politics

Featured Image courtesy of rawpixel via Unsplash, Image 1 courtesy of Johnson Wang via Unsplash, Image 2 courtesy of STIL via Unsplash

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