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Did you build a Personal Brand to advance your career goals ?

Posted by Ravi Banda on September 14, 2010


Going to school on a Sunday morning didn’t sound like a good plan but the seminar on “Personal Branding” as part of Leadership Development series at UC Berkeley was very intriguing so I finally decided to go. I wasn’t disappointed as the speaker William Arruda gave a bunch of good tips on building a personal brand and using it to achieve our career goals.

Recently, the topic of “personal branding” is inviting lot of debate as some are taking a fanatical approach to it and on the other side we have people completely discounting it as another fad. I believe that there is a middle ground that we need to work towards and when rightly used – our personal brand can help us grow in our career as well as open up new opportunities.

I wanted to share the tips (again credit to William) that I gained from this seminar.

Stand out

    Peer comparison is something that cannot be avoided in an organization and as we grow up further in our career the competition gets intense so it’s important to distinguish ourselves and show or bring that additional value to our organization. I can give few examples that I am following in my work activity – “proactive in communication rather than reactive”, “build networks outside the organization and leverage the network to get things done“, “speak up more”, “contribute to strategic goals rather than just being in an project execution role”. You need to take a close look at the things that you can do to provide additional value to the organization and then work on it.

    Be your own boss

    This is taking your career management into your own hands as Meg said in “Are you fully utilizing your potential?”

    Forget the ladder

    We see the career progression as a ladder where we move up one step at a time and at the moment of taking the next step we get into a frenzy of activity like activating our professional network, brushing up our resume / skills and pulling in recommendations etc. Once we move up to the next step – we kind of settle into ease till we start the process all over again.

    So, instead of treating the career progression as a ladder, let’s look it as a “ramp” – so that we are continuously engaged in activities that are geared towards our career progression. The projects we are involved in, the new connections we build – let’s look at them as helping us to move forward in our career and at the same time let’s not forget – we also have to “GIVE” back to our network and help our network achieve their own career goals as well.

    Build your brand

    This is a 3-step process – Extract, Express and Exude.

    1) Extract – this step involves looking at your career goals, values, passions and see if we can align them. We can use Strengths Finder test to know our strengths and then do a 360 Feedback to really know the kind of image we are projecting and whether they are matching with our strengths. If they don’t match – we need to work on addressing them.

    2) Express – Evaluate our communication skills and focus on the strengths as well as areas of improvement and communicate them to the people that we interact with. Key thing is that when we are expressing our strengths / values, they  should be CLEAR, CONSISTENT and CONSTANT

    3) Exude – this involves creating an environment which represents our brand and this can be your communication, actions, one’s appearance, online profiles, blogs, newsletters and even simple stationary items.

    I have definitely started to take the steps towards building my brand and use it for achieving my career goals and blogging is definitely one part of the plan :-)

    I will appreciate if you have anything to share on how you are building your personal brand and how that’s contributing to your career !!

    8 Responses to “Did you build a Personal Brand to advance your career goals ?”

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write this up – great stuff!

    2. Meg Bear said

      Ravi, Love the “give back” strategy with your MBA program. Keep it coming as we are all benefiting.

      -Meg

    3. What’s interesting about personal branding is that it’s been around forever, it was first written about in 1997, and it’s more prominent today because of online media and communities like Facebook.

      • Ravi Banda said

        Thanks for the comments Dan.

        I agree that personal branding is becoming more prominent due to social media and at the same time the tough economic times we are seeing are also forcing everyone to take that extra steps to show their unique value.

    4. [...] Did you build a Personal Brand to advance your career goals ? [...]

    5. James said

      I like the ramp analogy. Personal branding was vital long before social media or even the Internet were invented. So it isn’t new – someone’s just given it a name! I’ve had some success over the years building my personal brand – I was lucky that my Dad gave me some advice when I was very young. He said “You won’t have a job. You are in business. Your business is James Hallam and when your boss pays you, it’s not a salary, it’s a cheque for a service your business has provided. Build your business.” It was kind of wrapped up in an old fashioned, Protestant work ethic set of values, but essentially, it was about personal branding, with substance & conviction.

      Thinking about myself as a business, rather than an employee has forced me to do 2 things: 1. I’m constantly campaigning, doing little things to give back to my network and enhance trust in my “brand”. 2. I ignore the corporate ladder – it’s only relevant to employees.

      Thanks for the great post Ravi!

      • Ravi Banda said

        Thank you for your comments James.

        I like your analogy of thinking about myself as a “business” definitely with the giving back to the team/organization as the primary objective.

    6. [...] It is one of the pieces in the puzzle of building your own brand as described in Ravi’s posting. [...]

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