So you’ve learned the importance of a personal brand and have made the decision to start working on your own…but what’s next? This is a very common question that has been asked by several senior level professionals just like you. As it turns out, building a personal brand is hard, but it can very much be done! Here’s how.
1. Think About Yourself
Every employee, and especially every senior level professional, has something significant to offer a company. You will have to tap into just what your skills and positive personal traits are before you begin crafting your personal brand. In fact, this is the first step of c-level personal branding. It may help to approach this issue from the perspective of an employer and figure out what traits are most desirable in any employee, then work backwards to hash out what makes you unique from every other applicant out there. Craft a story about yourself for your hiring audience to read.
2. Start Pruning Your Presence Online
While no one will admit to Googling themselves, it will actually help you figure out one of the most important parts of branding yourself—your name. Keep track of how you’re mentioned online and whether it’s in a negative or positive context.
3. Be Mindful of Your Internet Activities
Now that you have an idea of how you’re perceived online, you’ll have to make sure to keep these perceptions under control. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want potential employers to find later on. If you’ve already engaged in online activities that you wouldn’t necessarily want employers to discover, you will generally have the option to delete them—but be careful!
You can never completely erase something from the Internet once it’s there. In the meantime, you can do any necessary damage control by carefully considering what you post and only letting pictures and other forms of media slip through if they contribute to your efforts toward personal branding for senior level managers.
4. Build a Website
Thanks to the advancement of the Internet, building a website is easier than ever! “Why do I need one?” you may ask. For starters, so many business interactions now take place online…from consumers to businesses to potential employees and those in charge of hiring them. A website is a wonderful way of presenting yourself to the world in a quick and aesthetically pleasing manner. Don’t think you have to go big and flashy! Just a paragraph about yourself, contact links and a well written resume will do.
5. Look to Older, More Successful Brands
You can find other people who’ve built personal brands by connecting with those who are in either the same industry or are alumni from your alma mater. Connect with these people as soon as possible for tips on how to better construct your personal brand. If you play your cards right, these new associates should prove valuable!
On our site, you’ll find information about building a personal brand, writing an effective resume and much more! Once you learn a little more about yourself, you may choose to get some additional help to push your executive job search to the next level!
Companies are leaning on referrals more and more these days. A referral allows the company to find an excellent candidate without paying a pricey recruiter or hiring multiple HR people to sort through resumes. It’s a win-win for businesses, employees (who often get referral bonuses) and job seekers.
… Except when you’re a job seeker who doesn’t know how to network. With networking becoming more and more important in the competitive job market, those who cannot connect end up without a job (or at least one they like).
So make sure you get that dream job by upping your networking game and avoiding these five mistakes:
Repeat after me, “You cannot do every aspect of your job search online.” Individuals starting to look for employment often immediately turn to the Internet to find their next gig. We forget that people were finding jobs before the advent of the world wide web. You can, too! Get out there and meet people in person. It’s much easier to reject an email than the face in front of you.
Give Before You Get
It’s vital to give before you get – when talking about networking. You cannot expect someone you just began developing a relationship with to give you exactly what you want immediately. You need to let the relationship grow. The quickest way to develop a relationship is to provide the other person value.
Lame LinkedIn Profile
While face-to-face contact cannot be replaced, utilizing LinkedIn comes in a close second. If you have a lame LinkedIn presence, you’ll be missing out on a number of opportunities. Every HR director and recruiter is constantly on LinkedIn building their networks. You should be, too! This means updating your profile constantly and finding ways to add value to the platform.
P.S.: If you’re struggling to gain ground on the best business social media site, it may be your profile. Luckily, LinkedIn profile development services and LinkedIn profile writing services are our specialties. Click here to learn more.
Become a Professional
If you’re using social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to network, then you must keep your image as professional as possible online. That HR professional with a perfect gig for you doesn’t want to know how “turnt” you got last weekend with the “squad” in Vegas. Trust me. Instead, try sharing that industry-specific insight you found in Forbes with a little commentary. Keeping your social media clean is just as important as using professional resume writing services.
Go to Contacts
Many would-be-great networkers fail to do one thing properly: follow through. These people are great at making introductions, contacts and more, yet they find their networks stagnating because they fail to stay in touch, give and follow up. If there’s one thing you should take from this piece, it’s to always follow up with contacts that could benefit you down the road. Keep developing those relationships!
For most of us, networking isn’t our favorite thing. It’s more of a “must do” than a “want to.” Networking is boring and can be absolutely terrifying. Meeting strangers at stuffy events where you wish a cocktail or three could be downed isn’t exactly fun.
The problem is networking is an absolute “must” in today’s business world. You have to network to get ahead in today’s business climate. If you cannot build a network, you cannot achieve your highest possible level of success.
Luckily, networking isn’t just business cards and small talk these days. Things like LinkedIn profile development and more social media sites play a huge role. So here’s how to make the most of your networking efforts:
It Goes Both Ways
When you’re flexing your networking muscles, make sure to remember that it goes both ways. You need to introduce yourself, talk about your company and more. So does the individual you’re speaking with. Make sure you give the other person time to explain their business and what they do. Nobody likes a selfish networker.
Get Your Mingle On
Instead of networking at stuffy events filled with equally stuffy people, try combining this mandatory activity with things you actually like doing. Join a yoga or cooking class. Find a professionals golf group. Get on Groupon and see if anything strikes your fancy. Everyone is a potential client, and everyone is easier to talk to in a social situation. Networking isn’t all about your LinkedIn profiles and email signature.
Find Your Focus
You can’t network and build a relationship with every single person you “know” right now. It’s mentally, physically, and emotionally impossible. So when deciding who to reach out to, think about who you could help and who could help you. Think back to your past about people who have built an extensive network and could possibly offer an important introduction.
Smooth Talking to Second
Not base! Get your mind off all that. We’re talking about securing a second meeting with a potentially valuable asset to your network. As you work the room at a networking event and meet someone who could be valuable to you, work to build a connection with the individual and then suggest a second meeting before getting contact information.
Networking in person is great. Keeping your executive bio on hand is important. However, times have changed. These days focusing on LinkedIn profile development may be more important than any of the other factors on this list. There are more movers and shakers on LinkedIn than you’ll ever find at a networking event.
Just remember: when making connections on LinkedIn, you need to build relationships online and then take them offline, if possible. One face-to-face meeting with an influencer from the best business social media site could mean more to your career than you could ever imagine.
It can be a challenge to select a good gift for someone who is looking for a job or working on being promoted. We like our gifts to be things that delight and get used (at least that’s my goal in gift-giving) and the “executive gift” often is not in those categories. So what does an aspiring Santa do?
Research, Research, Research
There’s a reason that appearance is important, particularly in your career. People make snap judgments based on your appearance. They might be wrong about you, but if there’s no further relationship, then there’s no way to find out why the first impression was wrong. Because of this, gifts that help create and maintain the executive image are usually very welcome.
The challenge is that there is no single business uniform. Different industries and different geographic regions have different standards of “dress for success”. So if you are selecting a good gift for the aspiring executive, then you need to know what will be helpful. Here’s a list of suggestions:
- high-quality jewelry — classic always works, but a unique piece can be perfect for making a statement. Think good watches, real gold cuff links, or tie pins and earrings, etc.
- high-quality tie — yes, the tie can become a joke when Dad gets so many, but if ties are worn, good ties look good longer.
- high-quality pen — any old ball-point pen can write, but a classy pen makes the writer feel like a million bucks.
- high-quality portfolio or case — there will always be papers to lug around, so make it a career statement.
- high-quality writing services — if they need help with resumes or job coaching, provide a way to get personalized assistance from a professional.
Do you notice the theme? A status symbol is an investment tool. High-quality stuff has a reputation for a reason. Because it is well made, it lasts a long time. The people your aspiring executive wants to join are wearing or using high-quality stuff, so giving a gift that helps them fit in is perfect.
Why would an expert suggest that being less responsible at work is a good idea? But that is exactly what Dorie Clark, a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business says in the Ideas section of Time. Why You Should Be Less Responsible at Work goes against some opinions about making yourself irreplaceable and takes a look at a larger perspective of your career path.
Get The Right Things Done
The main focus of Ms. Clark’s advice is that in order to lead, you have to learn to prioritize what your responsibilities entail. That means figuring out the 20% of your to-do list that yields the 80% of your results. It also means learning to procrastinate strategically by doing something appealing instead of the job you are stuck on — but making your procrastination activity something else on your list of things that need to get done. It also means learning to delegate.
Delegation is not just passing off your work to somebody else. Delegation is a skill that successful CEOs do all the time as they build a team of people who take pride in their contributions. At the other end of the career path, there isn’t much to delegate yet, but you can learn that sometimes saying NO to others is saying YES to yourself.
It’s far too easy to fill our agenda with tasks that look busy but don’t actually give much reward. It’s also too easy to take over all the little responsibilities that others neglect and neglect your own because you are busy doing too much. Learning how to prioritize effectively, to procrastinate strategically, and to delegate appropriately is good advice for all of us.
“Party ’til you puke” is NOT a good career strategy.
It can be challenging, though, if you only equate drinking at social gatherings with getting drunk in order to have a good time. It should be obvious that losing control of your actions is going to have repercussions the following week when you are working with these people, but let’s go over the reason for office parties before I share this great way to control your alcohol intake.
The Purpose of Office Parties
Businesses will provide opportunities for coworkers to get together in a less-business setting because it’s good for morale. Everybody can relax a bit, the divisions between boss and worker are softened, and people will be more productive when there are some friendships going on. These are networking events, to be honest. This is the time you can talk to the CEO without an appointment, or discover a shared interest with your manager. It’s also a relaxed time to know you are appreciated, since most gatherings are hosted by the company.
But the business gathering is still a business gathering and unprofessional behavior will cost you big time since it affects the way you are perceived. You need to know your etiquette for office holiday parties, and a big part of that is not over drinking. How do you keep from drinking too much?
Choose A Drink That Isn’t Your Favorite
If you are delighted that your favorite cocktail is being served for free, the natural reaction is to get one! And another one! And more! Why? Because it’s your favorite drink and you will just suck it down lovingly and want more. This is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, save the favorite drinks for when you are with friends who don’t care what you act like when you drink.
Choosing a drink that isn’t your favorite means you will drink it slowly. You’ll also be reminded that this is a business function and you have more important things to do than drink.
Of course, I am not suggesting you choose a drink you hate, because then your facial expressions would distract everybody. Pick one you think is okay, just not your favorite. No grimaces, no gulps, just sips and conversation. You’ll have this office party thing down as a success.
It’s that time of year when the holiday parties start popping up on your calendar. Some parties are going to be times to relax and let it all hang out (whatever your particular group of cronies likes to hang out and do), but the office party is a different kind of festive occasion.
Corporate Celebrations Are Career-Oriented
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting about Monday morning when you are in party mode. It’s important to know your etiquette for office holiday parties because everything that happens is remembered and discussed. The party is the company’s way of expressing appreciation for your hard work, but it isn’t an excuse to get drunk or act in ways you will regret.
If you are interested in improving your career, the office party is a great place to make connections with people you would not be able to talk to during normal business operations.
Office Parties Are Networking Opportunities
Think of this occasion as a fancy networking session.
- You are dressed up — but make sure you still look like a professional rather than a party animal.
- You might be drinking alcohol — but make sure it doesn’t negatively affect your behavior.
- The rules are relaxed — so you can talk to the boss or others higher in the organization without an appointment.
You know that there will be memories of the party, so make sure the memories of you are good. Think about that classic 80/20 ratio and plan on listening 80% of the time. You don’t want to wake up the next morning, remember how you acted, and groan. Ask questions, make connections, but don’t monopolize the evening trying to get the boss to notice how great you are. This is a time to be enjoyed, but it also is a time that can be good for your career.
We’ve all seen the news reports on data breaches in retail. Even the President is getting involved by signing an Executive Order to combat the growing concern of identity fraud. But this security problem affects the corporate arena just as much as it affects the shopping cart. We all have to be aware that somebody is monitoring our online behavior and looking for a chance to make money somehow. That someone could be a marketer, or they could be a hacker and the effects of their motives affect our lives.
Be Aware of Security in Your Job Search
There isn’t a good way to find a job without being online somehow, unless you are in a unique situation. For most of us, an online job search brings privacy issues and the need to understand how and why security measures are important. This is a basic living skill in the world we inhabit, so it makes sense to keep an eye on developments.
Being aware of security and how it affects data becomes an asset in your career, because you have already developed an awareness that will protect your personal information and your employer’s.
Be Aware of Security in Your Career
Every business entity has security concerns. The risks of data exfiltration are high because the ability to save to “the cloud” with a single click makes it easy to put potentially sensitive information where it shouldn’t be. Staff and management alike need to be educated, and that training needs consistent reinforcement to keep data where it belongs.
Executives who maintain a respect and awareness of the challenges of data security will be ahead of the game because the discipline needed for secure habits is already there. As the responsibility in an organization increases, the security needed will also increase, so if you want to move up the corporate ladder, this skill is an asset.
A cursory look at the history of clothing shows a lot of change, and it is a fascinating way to spend some time. Who knew that both men and women wore makeup and high heels in some European courts? Clothing has always been an indicator of power, and that fact will probably never change. But when you are trying to figure out how to dress for the success of your career, there isn’t much help in the styles of the past. What matters today is the impression you make on those around you now.
There Is No Single Business Uniform
It’s a mistake to think that you can read up on business attire and get it right for a specific business environment, because every workplace is slightly different. There are some general guidelines, though, and I think the best one I’ve seen is Business Insider’s look at How To Dress Like A Leader In Any Work Environment. It identifies 5 levels of business attire, from “baseline casual” to “boardroom attire” and gives a complex subject some simplicity.
But the reality is that different regions in the world can vary on their idea of what to wear, and when. CEOs in the Silicon Valley are going to look different than a similar executive level in New York City, while the boardroom in Hong Kong has way more suits in it than the same company’s boardroom in Hawaii.
There Is A Universal Standard of Excellence
While the colors and styles may change, all higher level wardrobes have distinct similarities:
- Everything fits and flatters the wearer
- Everything is in good condition
- Everything is high-quality in material and construction
- All accessories are equally high-quality
Dressing for success definitely still matters in today’s business environment, but you need to do some research to determine what your success strategy will look like.
“Age is a primary social dimension. We behave differently toward people as a function of how old we perceive them to be. Age perception relies on cues that are correlated with age, such as wrinkles. Here we report that aspects of facial contrast–the contrast between facial features and the surrounding skin–decreased with age in a large sample of adult Caucasian females. These same aspects of facial contrast were also significantly correlated with the perceived age of the faces. Individual faces were perceived as younger when these aspects of facial contrast were artificially increased, but older when these aspects of facial contrast were artificially decreased. These findings show that facial contrast plays a role in age perception, and that faces with greater facial contrast look younger. Because facial contrast is increased by typical cosmetics use, we infer that cosmetics function in part by making the face appear younger.”
This is the abstract of a research article titled “Aspects of Facial Contrast Decrease with Age and Are Cues for Age Perception,” and it should give a professional woman some good reasons to seriously consider wearing makeup at work and in profile pics. The way the study was conducted, people from the community sat before a computer and saw repeated photos duplicated side by side. The viewer chose the healthiest photo, or the most attractive, or the youngest, etc. But the only difference in photos was some slight changes in one.
Those changes were very subtle so the viewer was not necessarily aware of why one looked healthier, for instance. But the subtle changes did change perception.
Professional Image is All About Perception
Like it or not, people judge us by what we look like. Then they’ll judge us by how we act and sound. They have to make that judgement call because all they can see is the way we look and act and sound. So it makes sense that your professional image is based on outward appearances. OK, so I may be biased because I admit, I’m a makeup hound. I love all things hair, makeup, and accessories. I was loving life in the 80’s with the big hair, bright makeup, bracelets, and bows (even though I do look back at pictures and cringe sometimes). However, not all women want to fuss with makeup in the morning– and I get that.
Women working in the corporate world have many more options on dress and appearance than men do. You’d think that makes it easier, but it actually is more challenging because it’s so easy to choose the wrong option. It’s a good idea to study the workplace you are operating in carefully, dress for the position you hope to be promoted to, and look healthy & reasonably attractive in both real life and profile pics. Sad, but true. How you look professionally counts.
This study shows that you can increase a positive perception of your image with a little bit of makeup, so there’s proof that makeup is a good success strategy for professional women. And I’m not just saying that because I still have my Color Me Beautiful palette from 1985. Ahem.