Personal reinvention is necessary for many reasons. Maybe you’re looking to take on a new challenge or find more meaningful work. Maybe you’re hoping to shake limiting perceptions of you that hinder your career growth. Rebranding can be a major shift, such as a retail manager moving into a marketing analyst position, or it can be a subtle transition from a manager role to a leadership position within the same industry. Whatever changes you’re hoping to manifest, taking control of your personal brand is a necessary part of the journey and can mean the difference between a lackluster position and a rewarding career. One of the trickiest steps in this path is persuading others to embrace your rebranding efforts.
The term stereotype threat refers to situations in which individuals are, or feel themselves to be, at risk of confirming negative stereotypes about their social group. It’s a well-documented phenomenon, particularly in academic and corporate environments. Studies show that these situations result in increased heart rate and decreased concentrations. Ironically, the fear of confirming the negative stereotype leads individuals to perform badly, thereby fulfilling the stereotype due to fear of fulfilling the stereotype.
In today’s job market, standing out in a crowd is particularly vital to your career. Establishing and enhancing your personal brand will help you develop a reputation for professionalism, integrity, and expertise that will open doors to getting hired, promoted, and negotiating your salary. If you work for a larger corporation and think that your personal brand is in some way redundant, think again. Due to technology and the growing distrust of corporations, personal brands have become easier to develop, nimbler, and more trusted than their corporate counterparts. Using your personal brand to further company related goals is an excellent way to find new clients, establish your reputation, and earn a promotion. Here are some ways that your personal brand can help you earn that promotion or negotiate your salary.
Your personal brand and your personal style are indelibly connected in the minds of your clients and colleagues. If you are an entrepreneur or executive at the helm of a business in the corporate or nonprofit sector, personal branding can afford you some measure of portability by distinguishing yourself from the larger company image. Bear in mind the fact that every brand, including yours, has a package. Your packaging consists of clothing, accessories, grooming, and hairstyle choices and it is communicating to those around you, whether you want it to or not. It should go without saying, but your image and style can have a resounding impact on your professional success. As you cultivate your brand, make sure that your personal style is coherent, professional, and purposeful.
Adopt your own personal dress code and follow it every day, whether or not it’s a “workday.” Neglecting your personal appearance communicates self-doubt. Put some thought into your appearance because others are forming opinions based on it, even people you run into at the grocery store or the gym, and those impressions stick. Find clothing, accessories, and a hairstyle that compliments your unique strengths and ethos. Create a unique “look” that really works for you.
There is a verifiable psychological correlation between clothing and confidence. In 2014, the car manufacturer Kia conducted a survey to ascertain what makes people feel confident. They found that, for women, high heels, quality perfume, and a slinky black dress made the top ten list. For men, it was a new suit, fresh shave, and aftershave with a nice smell. Finding the right clothing and accessories doesn’t just communicate competence and confidence to the outside world; it communicates this perception to you. Dressing sharp raises self-esteem, boosts confidence, and can propel you in the workplace. There’s a reason people say if you want a promotion, dress like the boss.
If you are a little unsure of how to proceed, here are some guidelines to bear in mind. Your accessories should be coordinated with the rest of your outfit. To capture the attention of others in a good way, limit your accessories to one bold item per outfit. For women, this might be a brightly colored scarf. For men, perhaps a red tie. You don’t want your appearance to be confusing or overwhelming. Clothing should, of course, be clean, ironed, and fitted. Go through your closet and remove old, tattered, and outdated items. Replace those items slowly and thoughtfully with items that express who you are today and how you want to be perceived.
Take particular care with personal grooming, choosing a hairstyle that matches your look. Remember, it can always change as you evolve professionally and personally. Don’t neglect proper skin care and manicured nails. It’s amazing what people can take in subconsciously about our appearance in the flash of a second. You want to communicate a certain level of pride in your appearance.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you still feel as though you need help managing your professional image and personal style contact an expert. Waller & Company can assist you in aligning your image with your professional aspirations. After we assess your personal style, we select key fashions that make you look more competitive, confident, and successful.
The personal branding landscape is always changing. Nothing could inhibit your professional growth like posting tone-deaf self-promotional content online. So, as you carefully grow and curate your persona, check in regularly to make sure you are keeping up with global trends that could impact your career success. The digital bar is raising in 2017; step it up a notch in the multimedia department, keep it socially savvy, and don’t be afraid to take the wheel.
A picture is worth a thousand words and the undeniable success of image-based social media platforms means that billions of these visual “words” are being posted every second. Text is rapidly being replaced by images in the form of photos, videos, and gifs. Your brand could similarly benefit from a glossy visual upgrade. In 2017, it’s expected that you provide a rich graphic experience for your brand’s online community by incorporating multimedia into your digital communications. A good way to start is by incorporating Instagram into your social media roster. Instagram is currently the leading picture platform. According to eMarketer, in the United States, 51.8% of social network users will be using Instagram in 2017. As of now, 89.4 million Americans access Instagram monthly.
If you do nothing else to improve your image, at least remove that profile picture of yourself on vacation with your friend mostly cropped out. If you have been waiting for the right time to upgrade your headshot, now, 2017, is that time. In a market that is increasingly virtual, your headshot is the humanizing calling card that you leave on the doorstep of every person in your network. It’s the face that goes with your name. It’s what makes you a real, engaging person that clients and colleagues can connect with online. And the bar is definitely getting higher all the time. It isn’t enough to have one mediocre headshot. You are on your company website. Maybe you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, or your own blog. As a career-minded professional, it is essential that you have a portfolio of several high-quality images that show the authentic you with which your network can engage on a daily basis.
And engaging on a daily basis is key; 2017 is the year of the socially savvy employee. In 2010, roughly half of companies blocked access to social media. Every year sees on average a 10% drop in companies blocking social media access for employees. Progressive organizations know that individual employees can reach roughly 10 times more people with their personal brands than the company can with its corporate brand.
Leading the pack for professional networking is LinkedIn which continues to expand as the standard for career management. The professional development platform has been enhancing its customization options and the changes contribute to the platform’s value as a career management tool. You can now incorporate multimedia content in your profile, customize the appearance and background, and rearrange sections of text.
2017 is the year to claim your virtual turf, engage your community with multimedia and improved visuals, and take control of your career. Gone are the days of being a corporate drone. This is the age of employees as free agents. Take responsibility for building new skills, advancing your own career and, yes, keeping up with emerging trends.