As the job market becomes more complicated, it’s necessary to work even harder to ensure you’re known for what you do. In the old days, you could be more passive with your career management and rely on your employer to develop and retain people like you.
But times have changed. If you don’t take charge of your professional profile, it’s unlikely that anyone else will.
So how do you start? Try this simple exercise. Think of yourself as a product and write an advert for it. It may sound odd, but it will really make you think about what differentiates you from the crowd.
What would the headline or slogan be? How would you sell yourself? Would your ad jump off the page? Admittedly it’s not easy. And besides, this is Britain, for goodness sake. We’re not used to selling ourselves. People might think we’re big-headed.
That may have been the case once, but the rules have changed. And Rule 101 of marketing is ‘understand your brand’.
Once you know what it is you’re selling, you should list the ways you are going to promote yourself. There is a range of things you can do, from writing an industry white paper or speaking at industry conferences, to putting yourself forward for media training so you can help the company with its PR.
Another approach is to list the five most influential people in your industry. Write down how they cultivated their reputation. Often, it’s because they see the value of promoting themselves, and they have invested considerable effort in building an area of expertise.
Giving time to your professional profile will help get you noticed. Don’t underestimate how much an industry reputation will impress your next employer.
Your individual brand worth will help reinforce the company’s. That’s the way they’ll look at it, and it’s the way you should look at it too.
Mark McMullen joins the private client services team from Smith & Williamson
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