Whether you’re happily employed or in the midst of a job transition, part of any successful career management strategy is taking time to build your brand so that others automatically associate you with your area of expertise.
Why is this important? There are many benefits to having a strong brand:
– Chances are, either through your own choice or involuntarily, you’ll find yourself in a job search. If you’re well-known for a skill or expertise, you already have credibility with your network and are one step ahead.
– As people start to think of you as the “go to” person in your industry, you’ll gain a following in the community, including respect from your competition.
– If you’re running your own business or working as an independent, brand recognition is the key to growth and future leads.
– Currently working in an organization? Building a positive reputation and being associated with a clear expertise may lead to better opportunities and offers, promotions, and more money.
Here are 3 simple strategies, which take only minutes and have a big bang for your buck:
1) Add a custom signature to your Yahoo, Gmail or other email account. Include a few key words about your area of expertise, a hyperlink to your Linked In URL, and possibly a personal website address. This way, each time someone gets a correspondence from you, they will link you to your expertise.
2) Get basic business cards that list your Linked In URL and a few key words about your profession. If you don’t have business cards through your company or are still in school, this can be a professional way to share information with a new contact. If you’re in a job search, sharing a personal business card (vs. a card from your current/former employer) is a better strategy.
3) When meeting new people, you’re often asked “What do you do?” Instead of answering with, “I work at Target”, be specific about your field and the value you bring. For example, “I’m a Communications Strategist in the Marketing Department at Target and my role focuses on how to promote the company’s image in the media, specifically around charitable giving.”
While there are many other strategies for building your brand such as blogging, creating a personal webpage (try: www.about.me), actively posting on Linked In, or volunteering to speak at local events, the 3 items listed above take very little time and effort, and go a long way in helping people to associate your name with your expertise.