Personal Versus Professional Brand
These days, there is little difference between a personal and a professional brand. It’s basically your reputation.
Your brand will determine whether someone wants to write you a letter of recommendation, hire you, work with you or support your journey on the lattice.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Jeff Bezos
This leads to the big question:
Have you ever taken time to think about how you want to be perceived versus how you are actually perceived?
This is not an easy question to answer. It requires self-awareness and a willingness to make changes to help you close that gap. You need to be brutally honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. You also need to factor in your professional goals.
Intern versus CEO Branding
Keep in mind that unless you start your own business, you are going to be working for an existing company with a particular culture and employees and bosses from multiple generations. Understanding that culture is key to whether or not you will succeed in that workplace.
The more senior you get in your career, the more flexibility you have to bend or break the “rules” of your office culture. There’s a reason the CEO of a multibillion dollar company can get away with wearing t-shirts and jeans every day. Unless you’re the boss, you need to conform – at least during work hours.
Personal versus Professional Life
The choices you make around how you live your personal life will also impact your ability to show up professionally at work. We all have off days where we’re running late and everything goes wrong, but as a general rule you need to show up to work on time, dressed appropriately, and with a positive attitude.
If your goal is to climb the lattice, you need to be responsive, responsible, proactive, courteous, and kind. Consider how cultivating these qualities will establish the value of your professional brand. Recognize that while you can create an online presence that presents you in a certain way, you have to back it up with your behavior in real life.
“Effective personal branding will differentiate you from the competition and allow you to build trust with prospective clients and employers.” Forbes. This also applies to high school and college students when seeking letters of recommendation.
Having a strong professional brand will give you confidence as you navigate different situations both in and out of school or the workplace.
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