Career expert articles from CareerCast.com
Long-term success— rewarding work without layoffs, and professional growth that fits your goals—is much easier to achieve when you are credible and visible within your profession.
Creating and nurturing a professional brand as part of your overall career management strategy will help you achieve credibility and visibility throughout your company, metro area and profession, because an identifiable brand also gives you focus and motivation, and others a way to differentiate you. First of all you have to brand something that is worth branding, something your customers want to buy.
A worthwhile brand doesn’t spring into being overnight, it evolves over years; but you need to start somewhere, and you need to start now.
The greater the effort you put into working toward credibility and visibility—which over time translates into a steadily widening professional reputation in your area of expertise—the quicker you enter the inner circles in your department, your company, and ultimately your profession. And it is in these inner circles that job security, plum assignments, raises, promotions, and professional marketability all dwell.
Think of your brand as the formal announcement to the professional community of how you want to be seen in your professional world, and recognize that your resume, and the social networking profiles that grow from it, are the primary tools you will use to introduce and maintain a consistent message of your brand: how you want to be seen as a professional in your field.
It’s the narrative of your resume that tells this story in a very particular way: It captures your experience, skills, capabilities, and professional behavioral profile as they relate to what your customers want to buy.
Components of a Desirable Professional Brand
A viable professional brand must be built on firm foundations. This means you must understand what employers look for when they hire (and subsequently promote) someone in your profession, at your level, and with your job title.
Understanding how employers think is critical for the success of this job search and for your career going forward.
It’s why you should learn how employers deconstruct your job into its component parts, and how they then order and prioritize those parts and, most important, the words they use to express these judgments...and by extension how they will hire and reward those who give them what they want.
Let’s look at a sequence of transferable skills and professional values that underlie all professional success, no matter what you do.
Over the years, I’ve read a lot of career books that offer the harmful advice to “Just be yourself and you’ll do fine.” This is stupid advice.
Remember that first day on your first job, when you went to get your first cup of coffee? You found the coffee machine, and there, stuck on the wall behind it, was a handwritten sign reading:
YOUR MOTHER DOESN’T WORK HERE PICK UP AFTER YOURSELF.
You thought, “Pick up after myself? Gee, that sounds like I have to learn a new way to behave.” And so you started to observe and emulate the more successful professionals around you.. Over time you developed many new ways of conducting yourself at work in order to be accepted as a professional in your field. You weren’t born this way, you developed a behavioral profile, a professional persona that enabled you to survive and prosper in the professional world.
Professional success doesn’t happen by accident; there is a specific set of transferable skills and professional values that that employers all over the world in every industry and profession are anxious to find in candidates from entry-level to the boardroom. These skills and values are the foundation of every successful career. They break down into these groups:
1. The Technical Skills of Your Current Profession.
These are the technical competencies that give you the ability to do your job. The skills needed to complete a task and the know-how to use them productively and efficiently. These technical skills are mandatory if you want to land a job within your profession.
Technical skills, while transferable, vary from profession to profession, so many of your current technical skills will only be transferable within your current profession.
2. Transferable Skills That Apply in All Professions.
The set of skills that underlies your ability to execute the technical skills of your job effectively, whatever your job might be. They include the technical skills of your job, Critical Thinking, Communication, Multitasking, Creativity, Teamwork and Leadership. These skills are the foundation of all the professional success you will experience in any career.
3. Professional Values.
This set of skills is complemented by an equally important set of professional values that are highly prized by employers.
These Professional values include Motivation and Energy, Commitment and Reliability, Determination , Pride and Integrity, Productivity, Systems and Procedures. They comprise an interconnected set of values that enable professionals to determine the right judgment call for any given situation.
The regularity that these words and phrases occur in all job postings demonstrate exactly how important these transferable skills and professional values are to all jobs at all levels. The more you can use mention these skills and values in the right context within your resume, the better results you will get.
The greater the effort you put into applying these transferable skills and professional valiues everyday at work—the quicker you enter the inner circles in your department and company; and it is in these inner circles that job security, plum assignments, raises, promotions, and professional marketability all dwell.
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