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Professional Branding and You

Peter Mensah Masoperh asks "Are You That Special Someone?"

March 1, 2009

 

In today's marketplace, the necessity and desire to stand out as a professional has reached a new level. Current and potential employers are more keenly focused on the added value that an individual may bring to their organization, not just focused on the experience and skill sets of that individual.

 

As a result, your perceived value depends heavily on your professional brand. Do you know what yours is?

 

Someone Special

 

You may have heard a friend or coworker or coach describe someone as a “go-getter”, “my go-to guy”, “Ms. or Mr. Fixit”, or “my right hand person”. These descriptors indicate or infer two things:

 

1. The person being spoken about is a rare person who takes initiative and/or can be relied upon to get things done despite what may be a difficult task or situation.

2. The person speaking has a high regard for that individual.

 

The other side is fairly obvious: “not someone I can trust [with this]”, “goody two shoes Sam or Sally”, “big hat, no cattle”, and the kiss of death, “not a team player”.

 

Because you will always work with others in one capacity or another, these perceptions could make or break you. So do you know what your professional brand is?

 

What is professional branding?

 

Professional branding is more than highlighting on your resume all that you have done successfully or could potentially do well for an employer. It is certainly much more than the professional image you present to others. At its core, professional branding is simply another way of describing your professional reputation among your colleagues.

 

Why should it matter to me?

 

Let’s face it, you are a product. While you are undoubtedly a unique individual with great talents and skills, you are still a product. As a product - among several similar products -potential employers and colleagues will make a judgment about your potential value to them and the organization.

 

Your success will depend on a variety of factors. However, getting your foot in the door, keeping it there and walking through the door, will depend on how well you market the product.

 

Isn’t it just someone’s perception of me?

 

You may think that opinions don’t really matter; and that facts are the only things that count. That sentiment may be true for many things, but not where your career is concerned.

 

Your professional brand will determine (among other things) your effectiveness and influence in your current or future place of work. Armed with this information, it is now up to you to make yourself stand out.

 

How does professional branding apply to me if I’m a student?

 

Even students have professional brands. Ask yourself these questions?

 

  How do my classmates and professors see me?

  What comes to mind first when they think of me or when someone mentions my name?

 

Whatever the answer is – accurate or inaccurate - that’s your brand. As a student, there couldn’t be a better time than right now to begin developing or refurbishing your professional brand.

 

How do I make myself stand out from the crowd?  

 

David D’Alessandro, a former chairman and chief executive officer of John Hancock Financial Services, said “To get noticed, turn whatever qualities you offer into something of value.” To take this a step further, specialize and excel in what you are good at all the time.

 

What if it’s too late to rebuild or remake my professional brand?

 

It’s never too late to rebuild or remake your professional brand. For example, it’s been done countless times by so called “has been” or “one hit wonder” actors and musicians, respectively. More importantly, it’s been done by well-known and not so well-known professionals in all fields. It’s only too late if you give up.

 

About the Author

 

Peter Mensah Masoperh has spent over 10 years as a management consultant. Over the past five years, he has devoted time to training and advising professionals in achieving their career goals. Contact him at www.vision1consulting.com .

     

    

 

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