For a good portion of my career, I let the companies I worked for define who I was as a professional. When people would ask me what I did for work, I would always start my response with "I work for XYZ company". One day I realized that my career should not be tied to a company and instead to my own personal brand. This new perspective completely changed the course of my career.
Building your own personal brand can be challenging for many individuals but I still encourage people to seek it. We live in a digital world where most first impressions are obtained by googling someone's name. Do you really want to let your online presence control the image others take away? You do not need to be an entrepreneur or some kind of social media influencer to develop your own personal brand.
Your personal brand is your own personal mission and vision of your career. These should align with your own core values and beliefs. It is who you were, who you are becoming and the professional you aspire to be. When I think of successful individuals such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, or singer and songwriter Alicia Keys, I find that they all have one thing in common - they understand their personal brand and follow it in a way that is true and authentic to themselves, their values and beliefs. Building a personal brand and communicating that brand to others is something that takes time.
Let's face it, we all want to get recognized for the work we do, and sometimes it does not happen this way. Instead of kicking the dirt and going into a self-pity party, you should ask yourself what efforts you made towards making your work visible? And that too - to the right people. This does not mean you try and tie your name to every project or initiative. Or that you are constantly sitting in your boss’ office (as opposed to getting real work done). It means you do honest good work that aligns with your goals, focus on becoming good at what you do, and ensuring that the right people are able to see the fruits of your work and your value to the company.
Sometimes being visible to the “right” people can also be a challenge. It is helpful to network internally and externally and connect with leaders whom you feel are relevant in the field, who have influence, and can help you grow professionally. There is no harm in grabbing a quick coffee or tea with these individuals and discussing your work, questions, and yes - even your achievements.
About the Author:
Caroline Saavedra is the author and founder of Tekwomen.com.
Feel free to follow her on LinkedIn
@tekwomen for all social platforms