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