7 Tips To Better Manage Your Personal Brand

iStock_000014070542XSmallWe are all free agents in business and life and therefore, I don’t think anything is more important for your career than managing your personal brand. We all don’t have, need or can afford, Scott Boras running interference for us managing our “free agency”. But there are things every professional can do to enhance his or her own brand. Why is this important, you ask?

In business, the strategy of yesteryear was to hook up with a big company, put your head down, work hard, get promoted, lock in their substantial benefits programs including their rich pension plans, and go along for the ride for years, maybe even a full career. Those days are long gone. They’ve been gone in the business world for years, and those which have chosen government work as a career have more recently been hit with the same reality. It’s not all bad. Truth of the matter the business “cradle to grave” career of yesteryear has little relevance in an economy where there is little certainty that the successful companies of today will also be the same ones which will flourish years from now.

So on a personal level, I suggest that every professional honestly assess their skills and keep them current. Furthermore a frequent assessment of one’s career path is wise, with adjustments made as needed. Here are 7 things one can do to smartly manage one’s own brand:

1. Do a Great Job For Your Current Employer

This one is kind of obvious, but important nonetheless. Represent them well, act as their ambassador in your business travels. Never talk them down. Always do the “right thing”. Become known for doing so.

2. Network like crazy from Day One in business

Networking is not glad handing or merely “schmoozing”. It is building relationships and the best way to do that is to give first. Your time, talents, connections. This will help your current employer in the short term as you build relationships for them. But this will also help you throughout your career

3. Become a heavy LinkedIn user

LinkedIn is networking on steroids. Build your connections. Don’t wait until you need to do so. Share appropriate updates in your status about you/your company’s work. A big network will serve you well if you have need

4. Don’t jump ship for a modest raise

Will another company pay you 10-20% more for your work than your current job? Maybe? Money is important. But a small jump in salary alone is a really bad reason to take another job.

5. Don’t quit because you hate your current boss.

This is a tough one said from me who once in his youth said to his boss, “I’m not taking your f&*in  sh#@t anymore”. While deserved, this was not my proudest business moment. If you work for a large company, chances are your current boss will not be your boss within a year. So sometimes in business one is forced to stuff it and persevere. Look beyond the horizon if you can. There will be a sunnier day.

6. Don’t hang in there if your company is tanking

You are not a violin player on the Titanic. If it smells like bankruptcy is straight ahead, and you can find a better opportunity, then jump. There are no medals for being the last one on deck. Do a good job until you leave, but look for a new opportunity. The cruelty of the changing nature of business is that sometimes great companies of yesteryear can fail if they don’t evolve to the changing business environment.

7. Most of  all, demonstrate Integrity at the Moment of Choice

Don’t trash others. Take the high road always. And if /when you are in a pinch (and I guarantee you will be at some point), instead of trying to lie or obfuscate the truth, say something like “I screwed up and need your help”. Obviously you can’t go to this well too often, but it’s far better than lying. You’ll win points for honesty. Then solve the problem.

Work hard, represent your employer well, network like crazy, and always take the high road and your personal brand will always sparkle.

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  1. Lynn Hoban says:

    Great advice for all experience levels.
    “No excuses. Just results.”

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