5 Times You Missed an Opportunity to Build Your Personal Brand

 

don't miss this opportunity

 

Ok, so you’ve spent some time creating a personal brand, and you’re excited about what it could mean for your career growth. But how many times this week have you shared your personal brand with your community? Better yet, how have you used your time with decision-makers in your organization to build your brand?

If you aren’t taking advantage of every opportunity to offer up what makes you an asset, then your personal brand ceases to be a legitimate strategy for career advancement. Unsung, it is just a story you tell yourself about fulfilling opportunities that may or may not land in your lap.

You have to be the one to advocate for your career growth and create your promotion strategy.

If you feel intimidated by that fact, know that personal branding is not really as daunting as it seems.

Here are five situations you probably faced this quarter — if not this week — that you definitely (and easily) could have used to build your brand. 

First Impressions

1. First Impressions

Are you meeting a client, colleague, or executive? Find one chance to slip in why your passion makes you great at your role. This doesn’t need to be more than a sentence.

In fact, most people establish their first impression of you in anywhere from 7-30 seconds upon meeting. That isn’t a whole lot of time to share an anecdote on how your affinity for data analytics saved the company $30k last year. It is, however, enough time to begin building your personal brand with that audience, and leave the door open for career growth.

Maybe you feel shy about coming on too strong, or giving the impression that you’re “selling.” This doesn’t mean you have to avoid sharing what makes you unique. In fact, in these situations, the best thing you can do is offer your personal brand as a resource. 

What you might say:

Hi! My name is Peter. I work on brand partnerships for the Product team.

What you should say:

Hi! My name is Peter. I pitch and bring in new partnerships for the Product team. Let me know if there is ever anything I can help you with. I get a thrill from connecting people and bringing new ideas to life, especially in support of innovative start-ups. 

Remember: your brand is most effective when its reach is viral, and for personal branding, authenticity will be key to broadening your appeal and opportunities. Your first impression may not say everything about your potential, but it will leave a seed in your new contact’s brain that could lead to career growth down the line… if you can actually deliver on your promise.

(Don’t tell people you are passionate about helping them solve a problem if the work actually bores you to death. That will work against your brand.)

Introductions (especially during meetings)

2. Introductions (especially during meetings)

Meetings sometimes begin with a round of introductions that most of us snooze through. This one seems like a no-brainer, but there really is a more exciting way to present yourself in a room full of colleagues besides just listing your department, title, and tenure.

Those details do nothing to identify you as a resource or a valuable investment for the company, nor do they tell your audience what gives you the fuel to excel at your job. By breaking from the unspoken script, you’ll wake up the room and cement a solid impression that feels authentic, because it will be anchored by your passions.

What you might say:

Hi! My name is Caitlin and I’ve been working on our Communications team as a Copywriter for about three months.

What you should say:

Hi! My name is Caitlin. I’m a Copywriter and loving my role here; I get to combine my passion for creative writing with my strategic mind and crush marketing goals for the Communications team. 

The company roundtable is basically a podium for you to declare your personal brand statement. Don’t shirk that opportunity.

Social Media

3. Social Media

Put your brand on all your channels, so your “first impression” online matches your first impression in person. It’s assumed in this era that your manager and peers may look up your social media profile (or at the very least, your LinkedIn), but even more importantly? There are infinite networking opportunities attached to your online presence.

As a professional, you know to keep your posts polished, but simply maintaining a clean online image isn’t using these platforms to their full potential. You have the ability to curate your social media presence as a powerhouse for your personal brand.

On Twitter: interact with public figures and share your insights. The dialogue in which you engage will show your potential network which issues, topics, and innovations you’re most knowledgeable and passionate about. Keep your posts and engagements thoughtful. No shaming!

On Instagram: take advantage of captions to work in stories about your successes that appeal to your personal brand. You can easily spin a mountain-top hiking selfie to feature your interest in the environment and your penchant for goal-setting.

On LinkedIn: publish articles, respond to content, and support your peers. This can be as easy as sharing your successes in a status update, or writing a full blog post about a side-project you’re pumped about. LinkedIn is built as a networking platform already; this is prime real estate to communicate your personal brand to your professional circle.

Pro-tip: when you embody your personal brand outside of your workplace, it becomes a more authentic representation of you, rather than elevator pitch-style lip service.

Your Manager 1:1

4. Your Manager 1:1

When you share your accomplishments with your manager, slip in the reason why you are so good at your job. 1:1s are key opportunities to establish your reputation and advocate for your career growth in the organization.

If you aren’t building your personal brand with your manager, then you’re not capitalizing on a valuable chance to be known for the work you feel passionately about. And the next time she’s raking through department profiles for new projects, you’ll be passed over with no more consideration than the other six to eight team members she met with that week. She won’t know where to put you unless she knows your brand.

At the end of the day, your manager is just another employee trying to make the operation run smoothly. Don’t be afraid of opening up to her a little and sharing what makes you thrive. She will benefit, too, because she will know where best to utilize your talent for the org.

What you might say:

“I’m really proud of the relationship I built with this client.”

What you should say:

“I think I had success with this client because I love figuring out what people need. I’m passionate about ensuring reliability and solving problems for others, and I think my clients sense that.”

Office Hours with Executives

5. Office Hours

Okay, we know: not every executive offers open office hours.

But if you work for an organization that does, don’t skip out.

Just about every discussion that decides your career growth will happen while you’re not in the room, and apart from your Manager, the Executives are the ones talking and pulling the strings.

Don’t rely on a telephone version of your potential to decide the fate of your next promotion. 

Find time to share how your passion aligns with the company. Better yet: walk into these office hours prepared with an insight, idea, or connection that will make it easier for this executive to reach her goals. Ideally, this offer will be linked to your Personal Brand.

By taking the initiative to own how you are a unique asset in your role — and to the entire department — you will stand out from others with the same or similar title.

Then, when the time comes for internal growth discussions, there will already be a sapling planted in the C-Suite with your name on it.

Ready to take building your personal brand to the next level, PR style? Let’s go there.