I’m a Career Strategist — This is the No. 1 Step to Reinventing Your Career

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Punya Sandhu301
10 yrs in Big4 Consulting, Founder - BYONDGOOD
April 20, 2024 at 10:48PM UTC

Over the holidays last year, I reached out to more than 100 corporate professionals across multiple industries to understand their goals and key challenges in the workplace. The majority (77.5%) of survey participants were experienced professionals, with some new hires (12.5%) and a few professionals currently in  “student mode” (10%).

I asked them, “Which are the biggest challenges when it comes to your next step (getting promoted, pivoting to a new career etc.)? 

The overwhelming answer was, “I am unclear how to position myself and my personal brand.”

A strong personal brand is the number one step to reinventing your career.

What is your personal brand?

Think of your personal brand as the intersection of the following three sets of skills.

1. Where you’ve been.

Your background is usually your prior work experience. What area did you work in prior to your current role, what did you learn and what skills did you develop as a result (technical skills, business skills)? If you’re a student, list out all the activities from school that helped you develop your subject matter expertise (i.e. your major) as well as soft skills.

2. Where you are.

Your current role or projects define the skills you are developing right now. Whether you love your current role or hate it, think long and hard about which skills it has helped you develop. Did you learn about or use a new software, manage a multi-geographic team? What “marketable skill” can you add to your profile as a result of your current experience?

3. Where you’re going.

Create a future state vision for your career. How would you like your career to be in one year? Two years? Five years? Think about what interests you, what skills you bring to the table, what roles have been fun in past projects and what you want to learn more about.

Why you really need a personal brand.

In my survey, I asked professionals what career success meant to them. Most of them agreed on three things:

  • Making more money
  • Working on the juiciest projects in your field
  • Being known as the go-to authority in your domain

Your personal brand can help you achieve all three, in addition to:

  • Being the go-to person for a particular skillset
  • Expanding your network
  • Getting visibility from senior executives
  • Landing the juiciest roles/opportunities
  • Being first in line for leadership roles
  • Getting the recognition you deserve
  • Collaborating with people who help you grow professionally

How to build your personal brand.

It is easy to take the next role or project on auto pilot and get buried in the work for

another six months. Positioning yourself takes a lot of thinking and is hard to do but the payoffs can be tremendous.

Your personal brand is made up of the three Cs, built upon your six core business skills.

1. Collaboration.

This refers to the work relationships and collaborations you need to build and centers on three core business skills and powers: client relationships, team leadership and networking.

2. Communication.

This “C” focuses on the key business skills of storyboarding and executive presentation.

3. Conduct.

This refers to the key strategies for managing and delivering your work and projects while also demonstrating the other five core business skills (client relationships, team leadership, targeted networking, storyboarding and executive presentation).

How to use your personal brand.

Now that you’ve decided how to position yourself, the next step is to use your personal brand. Include your brand in your Linkedin profile, Company profile or other bios. When applying for jobs, include your brand as part of your elevator pitch. Finally, mention your brand while networking with key executives and colleagues.

Capturing the essence of your experience in your brand is an art that takes long to finesse. Good news is the sooner you start, and the more you flex this muscle, speaking about your personal brand will become second nature—all while bringing you all the results you ever wanted from your career.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for building a personal brand? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

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