How to build your personal brand both in and out of the office
As women in the corporate world, we’re constantly combating the “old boys club,” a network in which men have relied for generations to help each other get ahead, and most importantly: stay ahead. While “leaning in” may not be a new concept to you, it’s important to remember how crucial building your reputation both in and out of the office can be.
Strengthening your network within your company builds trust among teammates, helps get you noticed by senior management, and allows you the opportunity to gain more valuable experience. But never forget to “market” your “brand” beyond the corporate walls! Finding clever ways to forge long-term relationships with others in your industry and highlight your areas of expertise can help secure future career opportunities, or simply get you noticed and respected by those you admire.
Here are some tips:
In the office:
Be a team player: Always find ways to counsel teammates below you, and encourage their growth. Even if you’re in the middle or toward the bottom of the corporate totem pole, find ways to “teach” others. To those above you: constantly pitch fresh ideas. Reserve some time to “brainstorm” over each weekend, and plan to approach your bosses with new thoughts at the beginning of every week.
Manage up: Don’t be afraid to “own” projects or help manage your superiors to ensure team tasks get done. Exhibiting leadership skills even in the beginning of your career displays that you’re ready to get promoted.
Volunteer: Position yourself as a “do-er.” Always raise your hand to jump in on new projects, whether it’s pitching new business, planning a happy hour, leading a research project, or organizing a softball league.
Out of the office:
Pay it forward: Be a connector. Know someone looking for a job in your industry, or who’s hoping to connect with someone you work with? Or maybe she needs an introduction to someone at a specific company for a big project she has in the pipeline? No matter the need, think about how you can be of help. What goes around comes around: people will always remember you for going out of your way to help, and will definitely be there for you when you need a big favor in the future.
Freelance: Never be afraid to do business outside of the office, so long as it complies with your contract, and doesn’t distract you from work. For example, if you’re a marketing or events professional… offer to help a non-profit plan a benefit for free! If you’re in finance or consulting, help a charity balance their books or restructure their board, pro bono. These experiences can sharpen your skills, while widening your social and career network.
Self-promote (responsibly): Curate your Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook. “Follow,” “Connect,” or “Friend” those you admire within your industry, and read their posts for inspiration. And be inspirational! Share your career wins with your audience on a regular basis, so your successes aren’t lost to those around you. Always be sure to keep it classy. Make sure your online profile appropriately represents you, your career passions, and your thoughts. But never forget that the internet is a public space. Put your best foot forward at all times, and be judicious about what you share.
By: Arielle Patrick