Developing Your Personal Brand in the Workplace

Developing Your Personal Brand in the Workplace
By Dan Schawbel, Monster Contributing Writer

Personal branding is a global phenomenon that has become increasingly important to all career-minded individuals. Personal branding is the process by which we unearth what makes us special and then communicate that branding message to the proper audience.

If you want to succeed in the workplace, you need a well-defined personal brand that supports your company’s mission. By taking the following steps, you have a much better chance of becoming more valuable to the organization, staying with your company longer and accomplishing more.

Get Your Brand in Check

What is your brand and how would you define it to someone else? Your brand should be authentic to you, relevant, unique and something that can evolve as you grow as a professional.

A January 2011 study by Bute Coaching, a London-based professional coaching firm, revealed that 45 percent of people don’t even think about their own personal brand. You won’t become known and respected in your company if you don’t know the unique value you provide and how to connect that value to your company’s overall mission.

Think about your special talents and explore ways in which you can incorporate them into your job so you can become a more valuable employee. Become more self-aware by noticing your emotions when you’re performing certain tasks and activities. If your blood starts flowing, it’s usually a sign that you have passion and energy for what you’re doing and should make it part of your personal brand.

Ask for Feedback

Another way to zero in on your brand is to gather feedback from the people you work with, including your manager and coworkers. Among respondents in the Bute study, 43 percent didn’t know, or were not sure, what others thought about them. By understanding how people perceive you, you can start sending the right messages and avoid coming off the wrong way when you communicate. Failure to perform this type of 360 assessment can hurt your chances of climbing the corporate ladder and making a name for yourself at work.

One exercise you can do in this regard is to write down any five words that describe you and then ask your manager to do the same. You should also perform this activity with a coworker or friend to help verify the results. If the words are consistent, then you know you’re branding yourself the right way.

Get in Alignment

To succeed in the workplace, you will have to care about your job; otherwise, you won’t put in the effort and it will show. One of the best ways to succeed is to be committed to the organization’s goals over your own. If you become selfish by promoting yourself without referencing your company, you run the risk of getting fired.

The lesson? Think long and hard about what you’re passionate about, your current job, and how you can use your brand and current responsibilities to support organizational goals.

[Dan Schawbel, recognized as a "personal branding guru" by The New York Times, is the managing partner of Millennial Branding LLC and author of the No. 1 international bestseller Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future. Dan is the founder of the Personal Branding Blog, publisher of Personal Branding Magazine, a syndicated columnist for Metro US and the youngest columnist at BusinessWeek. In 2010, he was named to Inc. magazine’s 30 Under 30 list.]