Building Your Career: One-A-Day Branding

Work on your resume, write an article, start a blog, join an organization. Build your brand, one day at a time.

By JoAnn Hines, PharmaManufacturing.com’s career expert

The holiday fun is over and it’s time to get back to work. There’s no better time to start planning for the personal branding that will carry your career through 2006 and beyond. Even if you’re content in your current job, it’s important to strengthen your image. You never know when life may take a dramatic turn.

It might seem like a lot, but you need to set aside a minimum of 15 minutes a day to build your brand. You can do many things in that short time that will help build visibility, credibility and a strong personal portfolio.

Here's a short list to get you started:
  • Refine your "elevator" pitch, the short speech that you use to sell yourselves to others. The best ones simply don't materialize overnight. They come from continuously refining and condensing the message down to its core elements. Spend time every week tweaking your pitch. Test it out on friends, just to make sure it’s right on.

  • Update your resume. This can be done in increments. List your best, most recent accomplishments and put them into clear, catchy phrases that can be inserted into any resume or personal self-promotion. Remember to use real, current accomplishments here, not tired language about where you went to school or what happened 10 years ago. What have you done lately?

  • Call a couple of magazines or web sites, introduce yourself to an editor, and pitch an idea for an article. Spend just a few minutes on the phone and follow up via email with your credentials and an abstract for an article. Believe it or not, they’ll often say yes. They need writers, especially those who write for free. Say you can’t write? Nonsense. You’ve got time, and plenty of friends to help. Getting published gets you noticed, now or later.

  • Do some “vanity” searches. Google yourself on the web. Try it on several search engines. Remember to use the quotes around your name so you won't get a lot of unrelated queries. Not showing up? It’s time to get busy building that brand.

  • Start a personal blog. It’s the quickest way to get yourself published. Work hard on the content, and make sure that what you write is building your brand. Be smart, interesting, humorous. Don’t gossip or throw stones, which don’t earn you respect. And you have to be serious about updating your blog. It might take six months or more, but if you persist, people will eventually start to read it and pass your name around.

  • Research the industry trade shows scheduled for 2006. Find out which shows or conferences are best for learning something new and networking. See if you can get yourself on the slate of speakers. If not, find out what you need to do to get your name down for next year.

  • If you haven’t already, start your own personal website. This is another way you can promote yourself. Keep it professional if you want future employers to visit the site. This requires a lot of time, too, so try to do a little bit every day.

  • Last but not least, renew your professional memberships even if you have to pay for them yourself. Having key affiliations and getting to know the people in the organization are inexpensive forms of building your brand.
These tips and more come from the extensive library of personal branding tools developed by JoAnn Hines, the Chief People Packager.



About the Author

JoAnn Hines "packages" people. She makes it easy for others to transform their careers in much the same way she did. Her "how to" workbooks, informative articles, and tutorials demonstrate the steps to take career and professional development to the next level. Hines believes in the power of her experience and advice. As a result, much of her advice is free or is offered for a nominal charge. To learn the ropes and "Package Yourself" for success, email her at pkgcoach@aol.com.

The “Packaging Yourself Workbook" will show you specific ways to accomplish your personal branding goals and launch your career. For information, visit packaginguniversity.com/pkgustorefront.htm.

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