Packaged for Promotion

Don't sell yourself short. Here's how to brand yourself on the job and get to the next level.

Let us be very clear. You can hope and pray that you’ll rise to the top by sheer dint of your merits and good work alone. Perhaps, in the best of all possible worlds, that is how things would work. But in the hypercompetitive atmosphere of today’s retrenched times, you need to do far more than that to make the most out of your career-wherever you are, whatever your field.

This is why, dear reader, you have to find a way to stand out from the crowd . . . why you have to brand yourself if you are to achieve optimal career success.

By achieving an immediately recognizable identity-your own personal brand-you will become not merely another player in your chosen field, but a power within it. When you do this, you are no longer one more among many, but a specialist who can do a job better than anyone else . . . and this holds true whether you are a corporate employee, in private practice or in the nonprofit sector. To brand yourself, here are three rules you should follow:

Rule #1: Create the Opportunities to Demonstrate Your Brand
Many people, especially those new to the corporate world, tend to wait to be told what to do, rather than proactively demonstrate their unique skills. You simply can’t wait for someone to ask you what you are good at. You have to create your own opportunities. Is there a special project that you want to do-that you think would highlight your brand position-but isn’t within your job description? Take the initiative and do it anyway. This may mean working after hours or in between assigned projects, but the extra work is well worth the effort if it means the difference between creating a brand for yourself or not.

Scott James was a manufacturing traffic coordinator. His job was fairly demanding, and required the skill sets of attention to detail and ability to analyze numbers. He was anxious to be promoted quickly, but only the president of the company could authorize promotions. The only time he was in the same room with the president was at the manufacturing update meeting held every week for an hour.

[Following our strategy,] Scott agreed to start paying attention in his weekly manufacturing update meetings and see if there was a repeated request from the president not being handled. The company offered a special “bonus” pack that the sales force loved because it was easy to sell. But manufacturing didn’t like it because it had to shut down the plant and reconfigure the manufacturing lines to fit the different size of the special package. The president asked if the company was making money on the bonus pack.

Sales said yes, but didn’t have specific data to prove its point.

Manufacturing said no, but didn’t have specific data to prove its point.

A game plan was set: Scott would be proactive and do an analysis on the bonus pack and resolve once and for all whether it was profitable for the company. He would be providing an answer

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