By Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Aime Kyle, Jennifer Moss and Sonal Shah
We have all heard of the benefits of “personal branding.” It is no longer just one of many strategies you may employ along the road to advancement and growth in your career. Today, it is vital to obtaining the visibility and recognition needed to advance.
So, how do you develop a successful brand? In her book Personal Branding and Marketing Yourself, Rita Allen identifies the three P’s: preparation, packaging and presentation. Here, based on our experience in the finance department at Thermo Fisher Scientific, is how to incorporate them:
Thermo Fisher encourages all of its professionals to think about their work as “their story.” It’s also key to identifying and defining your brand.
In order to do this, you spend time thinking about what is important to you, what motivates you and how you view success. This process is a reflective one, where you brainstorm ideas and perhaps review them with your mentor or people you respect and know you well professionally. It’s not about identifying who you think people want you to be, but about recognizing who you are and your core values. Yes, it’s about finding your authentic self.
Yet many women may find this process challenging, since through the years we have been encouraged to try to be more like men in the work environment. The reality is that some of our defining characteristics as women are what help us to be most successful. Think about your skill set and approach in your professional environment. Are you able to help two different parties with very different thoughts and opinions connect and come together? Has your ability to develop and build strong relationships made a difference in your ability to achieve and exceed results? This process is about finding out what makes you stand apart and what you want to highlight as people get to know you professionally.
Packaging Your Story
Once you have sorted through the defining process of “your story,” you can begin the packaging process. This is where you will create and build your brand, taking what you learned in the preparation phase as your guiding principles. What one word would you use to summarize your personal work story? There is no one right answer and each word will be as unique as the individual person.
Do you naturally bring groups of people together and encourage collaboration? Your defining word may be collaboration. Is your work about creativity and designing new things? Your defining word may be innovation.
Presenting Your Brand
Once you have gone through the previous steps, it’s time to identify opportunities where you can share this vision and allow others to see your talents. Some opportunities may be provided by your company. Thermo Fisher has specific programs such as our “Finance Women’s Leadership Conference” and “Women’s Employee Resource Group” that allow us a chance to do that. Other opportunities may be self identified, such as offering to present on a topic that is important to you or leveraging your talents to volunteer to support a cause.
In the end, your personal brand is up to you to identify and own. Understanding what your work story is will help you define the legacy you want your work to leave behind.