One of the most important steps you can take in your career development is discovering, developing, and executing on your personal brand. Companies succeed, in large part, based on the individuals it employs. These individuals are unique entities who all strive to obtain a larger common goal. As a job seeker, or even as an employee of a company, it is imperative that you continuously and consistently demonstrate your skills and ability to add value to the company while upholding its mission and goals. These factors—your skill set, demonstrated capabilities, and the way you fit into an organization’s company culture—are all part of your personal brand.
How do you develop a personal brand and what are the benefits of a personal brand?
Creating a personal brand is learning to market yourself. Marketing yourself is not about selling your professional services to someone; it is about focusing on your market, which, as an administrator, can be whole departments or C-Suite Executives, and your market’s needs. Then, you must decide how what you have to offer intersects with your market.
For example, if your market is C-Suite Executives who require individual, one-on-one support, and what you have to offer is an uncanny ability to provide exceptional, five-star service, that’s your angle. C-Suite Executives have worked very hard to attain their professional level, and often expect nothing less than outstanding service. One aspect of your personal brand, therefore, is the ability to provide outstanding service, not taking no for an answer, and never resting until the executive’s need is met.
If your market is an entire department, perhaps consisting of five to ten individuals who need several smaller tasks completed for them, and you have an undeniable ability to quickly switch gears and multitask between projects, that’s your angle. Supporting more than one individual is complex in its own right and requires its own set of skills and ability to handle multiple projects, both small and large, with seamlessness and gracefulness. One aspect of your personal brand, therefore, may be stress tolerance, adaptability, or a broad range of skills.
Another important piece of marketing yourself is knowing who you are, what your values are, what your professional vision is, and what inspires you. As an individual, you are unique in what you have to offer and what motivates you. Is it working toward a global cause? Is it making more money? Is it helping someone achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams? There is no right or wrong answer here, only one that is unique and compelling to you. For example, are you interested in personal growth? If the answer is yes, strive to work for a company that is also interested in advancing their employees’ professional development. Developing your personal brand will only benefit an organization whose values are in line with your own. If you do not believe in what the company you work for is selling, advocating, or promoting, it’s a lose-lose situation for the both of you.
Creating a personal brand does not happen overnight; it takes time, thought, evaluation, planning, execution, and re-evaluation several times over to get it right. As an administrative professional, your personal brand will evolve over the course of your career, but keeping who you are, what you do best, and why you do it in mind will help you stay on track.