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You Need to Brand Yourself at Work!

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

Women are asked to develop their brand, but for men it is called building political capital!

One of the main challenges for women in large corporations is achieving equal representation in leadership roles. Studies have shown that women are underrepresented in top positions, such as CEOs and board members, and this lack of representation can make it harder for women to advance in their careers and have their voices heard in important decisions. Additionally, unconscious bias and stereotypes can also make it more difficult for women to be taken seriously and be given the same opportunities as their male counterparts. To address these challenges, many companies are implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives and providing training on unconscious bias to help promote a more equitable work environment for all employees.

One of the things I often hear is that women are asked to brand themselves better at work. I was surprised to see the number of my clients who brought this in our conversations. I decided to do a little experiment and ask all the men I knew if they were ever asked to better brand themselves. The answer was a resounding no, never. When asked if they were working on their political capital, they all said yes, of course. In all, it is the same, the difference lies in the fact that many women do not enjoy doing politics, it seems dirty or not being your authentic self. But branding yourself is more of a marketing acceptable term.

Branding yourself means to make sure you capitalize on what you do well and ensure you demonstrate the ownership of your career.

Key success factors in taking ownership of your career

1. Set clear career goals: Having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve in your career will help you stay focused and motivated. Set both short-term and long-term goals for yourself, and make sure they are specific, measurable, and achievable.

2. Network: Building a strong professional network can open up new opportunities and help you advance in your career and also making you understand your value. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with people in your field. Many of this can be done on Zoom, I personally developed hundreds of valuable business relationship via teleconferences and never met “live” the people I feel very solid and can depend on them.

3. Stay up-to-date: Keep learning new skills that will make you more valuable in the job market. Take classes, attend workshops, or pursue additional education to improve your skills and stay current in your field.

4. Take initiative: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Look for ways to contribute to your organization and take on new responsibilities. Be proactive in your approach to work and be willing to take on new challenges.

5. Be strategic: Be strategic when it comes to your career. Consider the long-term implications of your decisions and be mindful of the opportunities and risks that come your way. Being strategic can actually be a really fun part of your career activities. Make sure you set intentions when you do meetings or go to an office activity. Don’t leave it to coincidence, only pretend that it was a coincidence, for you it was a strategic intent!

6. Be open to feedback: Seek out feedback on your performance and use it to improve. Be open to constructive criticism and be willing to change direction if necessary.

7. Be resilient: Be prepared for setbacks and don't give up easily. Stay positive and keep working towards your goals, even when faced with obstacles.

Developing your brand at work

Branding yourself at work means creating a positive image of yourself and your professional abilities in the eyes of your colleagues, managers, and industry peers. It can help you stand out, build credibility, and open up new opportunities for career advancement. Here are some key strategies for branding yourself at work:

1. Develop a unique value proposition: Identify your unique skills, experiences, and accomplishments that set you apart from others in your field. Communicate them effectively to others, and use them to demonstrate your value to your organization. The important part is to not deliver your value proposition like a boring recitation of your title and job description. Unique is the key word here, deliver it with a punch, and then explain. For instance, if you are the IT person who works behind the scene at making sure that all software integration work seamlessly, across the organization, to integrate all the financial data, I would describe this as:

I am the invisible power that ensure the efficient delivery of the most important data of the company. I often tell my clients to think for a moment that if they would stop working tomorrow, what does the company lose? What makes you especially important and unique.

Sometimes it is your personality and your efficiency. The other day, a client who is a claim adjuster told me that although many people do exactly the same job as her, everybody in the company want to go through her to get things done well, professionally, and quickly because they trust that she gets things done. Hence, if you meet a vice-president and he/she asks who you are, you say that you are the central anchor for everyone who needs things done efficiently. I can guarantee that he/she will remember you and will ask a follow-up question. That is a punchy statement and you say it with a smile, because it is true.

2. Again, Network: Build a strong professional network by connecting with colleagues, managers, industry experts, and other professionals. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and participate in networking opportunities.

3. Be visible: Take the initiative to be visible within your organization. Participate in meetings, volunteer for projects, and share your ideas and expertise. Resolve efficiency issues, even if small, but ensure that you share the result internally.

4. Be a thought leader: Share your insights and knowledge on industry topics and trends by writing articles, giving presentations, or participating in panel discussions.

5. Show your results: Share your successes and achievements with your colleagues, managers, and industry peers. Demonstrate the value you've added to your organization and the impact you've had on business results.

6. Maintain a positive online presence: Create a professional online presence by regularly updating your LinkedIn profile, creating an online portfolio, and participating in online communities related to your field.

7. Be consistent: Consistently communicate your personal brand across all of your professional interactions and materials, including your resume, social media profiles, and business cards.

And without getting your hands dirty, suddenly you will have built political capital. Enjoy your career, it can be challenging, but it can also be fun and rewarding.

Helene Blanchette

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