Ways to enhance your professional success.
Anyone have any New Year’s resolutions on the professional front? The start of a new year is a great time to consider your professional development goals for the year. No matter what level you are at in your fleet management career, it is never too early (or late) to build your professional brand.
Values, knowledge and expertise
A professional brand is what people know you for in the workplace. Your brand encompasses your values, knowledge, personality and expertise and allows you to differentiate yourself from your peers. The advantages of a strong professional brand are that it enhances professional opportunities, helps build meaningful relationships, and can even open doors to new opportunities. In your road to building a professional brand, you should be aware of these pitfalls:
Increasingly, the lines between our personal and professional lives are blurred. If you use any social media platform work colleagues will know more about you–your family, likes and dislikes, hobbies, etc., and this information becomes part of your professional brand.
No one likes a fake. Sometimes people try to shape a brand to be who they want to be rather than who they are. Don’t advocate for sustainability and commute to the office in a 2 ½ T truck.
Flash in the pan
Doing something once does not make it your professional brand, it takes commitment and consistency. Your professional brand is the way you live your life, not an act you engage in once a year.
Is there someone you would like to emulate in professional brand creation? No one is perfect or continually successful in avoiding the pitfalls, but Elon Musk is often held up as someone whose name is synonymous with hard work, far-reaching goals, and a commitment to technological advancement. He has consciously built and managed that brand for decades.
Few of us have the vision or resources of Musk, but we are all capable of figuring out who we want to be as a professional and creating and executing a plan to get there. Here are some tactics that are effective in brand development.
Tell a story
People love stories and your personal history forms part of your personal brand. Often people support a cause as a result of that history and that becomes a compelling part of their story.
Take Robyn, a young lady I am mentoring. Her story starts in a military family with frequent moves all over the world. She formed a love of hockey as a way of fitting in wherever she ended up. As a young adult, she tells her story to youth in the hockey camps she coaches, to encourage them to develop close bonds. Part of her professional brand is team-building and belonging, due to her personal history.
Get industry credentials
Your knowledge and experience are key to your professional brand and there is no better way to communicate them than an industry certificate, certification or professional designation.
Be selective on engagement
Be intentional in what information you share, who you share it with and how you share that information. Ask yourself what social platform is the most likely to portray your professional brand in the correct light. Once you select the platform, have a plan to engage regularly to enhance your brand presence.
As 2024 launches, come up with three branding goals. Think of a story from your personal history that shapes your professional brand, sign up for a certification course and create a profile on the professional social platform of your choice. Good luck!