Personal Branding: 5 Keys To A New You In The New Year

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By Tarah Remington Brown
IAAP Marketing Manager

The New Year is traditionally a time for reviewing what you’ve accomplished and what you’d like to improve upon. One of those items you may want to improve is your personal brand. Whether you are looking for a new job in the New Year or wanting to go for a promotion in 2013, honing your personal brand can help you achieve your goals.

What is a personal brand? Many would argue it’s a catch phrase most readily tied to your presence in social media (how many Likes, re-tweets and links you get from commentary you post online). But your personal brand is…well…personal. It’s the persona you showcase in your work environment and how your co-workers come to know you. It’s how you interact with others. It’s how you present yourself to your colleagues and managers. It’s the way you manage team projects and oversee your manager’s calendar. It’s the “you” you present in the workplace.

So in this time of self-reflection, what is your personal brand? Are there areas of your brand you’d like to improve? Here are some tips for updating (or defining for the first time) your brand.

Be Tech Savvy
With the downsizing that occurred in many offices across the country as a result of the recession, more and more office and administrative professionals are doing more with less. This includes learning new software programs, adhering to “paperless” workplaces, and adapting to working with several managers when you’re used to just working with one. Being familiar with the latest in project and time management apps and software programs can be a lifesaver not only for yourself, but also a time saver for the new managers you report to. Increasing your knowledge of the latest and greatest in tech gadgets (iPad mini anyone?) and online apps can turn you into the “go-to” in your office for fixing the boss’s smartphone and scheduling online meetings at the drop of a hat.

Be Approachable
It’s hard for us as human beings to take a step back and see how others see us. Do you come into the office with our head down and walk straight to your desk? Do your co-workers know never to call you between 8:30 and 10:00 am because you’re answering email during this time? Would you never be caught dead volunteering to onboard new employees because being a mentor is not in your job description? Think about the perception each of these “stuck in your ways” approaches gives others. Would you want to work with someone who is so inflexible they become hard to work with? If you’re not approachable, then it is an automatic assumption you are not adaptable which leads to…

Be Adaptable
Being adaptable to changes in the workplace and being known for your adaptability is vital to your personal brand. People want to work with others who are open to change, who think outside of the box and aren’t such black and white thinkers and doers they can’t see any shades of gray. In 2013, open yourself up to a new approach to a project. Think of a new way to manage your team’s calendars. Get out of the box.

Be Visible
Volunteer to do something in your office that is not in your job description (like mentor a new employee). Research a software program your company could pilot for a start up tech company at a low or no charge fee that will help improve internal processes. Send an all-staff email letting everyone know you can know how to program tablets with tons of free apps and will be doing a demonstration during the lunch hour on Monday. Become a go-to person not only within your department, but within your company. If you’re going for a promotion then more people need to know about you and what you bring to the table. Step up and really show what you are capable of. You have skills others will find an asset but you have to tell them and show them and tell them again. It’s your responsibility to make sure everyone knows your own expertise (and what an invaluable resource you are!)

Be A Sharer
Multiply the investment you make in your own career success by sharing your knowledge with colleagues. IAAP chapters and divisions regularly host professional development sessions, and if you work for an exceptional organization, your company offers continuing education opportunities as well. IAAP conferences and webinars, like the upcoming TEC13 conference in Anaheim, Calif., help you expand your knowledge and skills and make you an asset in the workplace. Now spread the wealth. If your co-workers and managers know you are always looking for opportunities to education yourself, that’s great. But if your co-workers and managers know that you are always looking for new ways to improve internal processes, save the company money, or help them learn too, that adds to your personal brand.

Your personal brand isn’t something to be kept a secret. Everyone should know who you are and what you can provide. Shaping and sharpening your skills and work habits to improve your brand can lead to new career opportunities for you.

In 2013, reflect on where you are in your career as an office professional. Think about where you want to go. Review your personal brand, and identify improvements you can make to change a perception of you in the workplace, or increase your brand awareness among your co-workers and managers.