The importance of knowing your personal brand

To position yourself for a promotion, the starting point is to understand your brand.

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Vinita is a mid-level manager working in technology in a well known Australian company. She is STEM (science, technology, engineering mathematics) trained, and has done well for herself after arriving in Australia ten years ago.  However, Vinita feels that she has been overlooked for promotions and often does not feel seen or heard – especially as she is often the lone woman in a group with mostly men. Vinita wondered what she could do to raise her visibility, and to position herself for her next opportunity.

In the Australian context, we see that those who get choice assignments or promotions are often those who are able to promote themselves better, or are able to bring visibility to their work. However, for many people, trying to promote one’s work feels inauthentic, and that they may come across as bragging. So what are the options here?

In the first instance, as a Step 1, rather than trying to promote your work overtly or bring visibility to your work, it’s better to focus on your personal brand.

Your personal brand speaks for you, especially when you are not even in the room. So the starting point should be to assess what your personal brand is, and what you would like it – need it – to be.

Outline 3-5 key words that you want your brand to reflect – for example, hard-working, collaborative, creative, personable. Understand what your brand needs to be for you to secure your next role.

Personal brand

Then outline the behaviours reflected by each of these key traits. For example, if you want to be seen as collaborative, write down how you have demonstrated this in your meetings etc. You will also need to reflect deeply on how you are perceived by others: based on your actions, do you think that others would also think you are collaborative?

For your future role, list the behaviours you need to start demonstrating – and start doing these. Our behaviours, attitudes and mindsets are core to our brand – and often, we are unaware of what our brand says about us.

The self-reflection exercise should then be followed by asking a small group of people who know you well to give their perspective on what your key qualities and attributes are. With some luck, others’ perceptions of your brand will align with yours. What do you do if what you learn is not aligned to what you want? You outline a set of targeted actions to address the gap. For example, if some people have said that you are a perfectionist, the downside to this is that you may not be as effective with your time as you could be. This means that you will need to work on addressing this. But the important point here is that now you know what people think of you – and potentially, have revealed the factors that are holding you back.

Asking for feedback on how you are perceived can be quite challenging, but the insights that are gained can provide material that you can use to uplift your behaviours and practices.

So, in series of steps to address how to position yourself for a promotion, the starting point is to first understand your brand. The knowledge you acquire will allow you to assess which self-development areas to focus on as a considered exercise.

READ ALSO: What India-trained women could do to succeed in Australia’s tech sector

Salma is an Indian-origin leader at a well-known Australian organisation

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