Whether favorable or unfavorable, emotions resonate when you hear brand names such as Jordan, Chanel, TMZ, Outback, and Disney. This is similar to your professional brand identity at work. The mention of your name can be viewed favorably or not, contingent on the impact you have on those you work with and for. Your name is synonymous with your professional brand or reputation. Here are 3 things you can do to build or restore your professional brand in the workplace.
1 - Establish a track record of success. Do what you're supposed to do and do it well. Our performance is typically evaluated on measurable factors tied to desired results. No matter what position you currently hold in your organization, it would benefit you to exceed the expectations outlined in your current job description. A track record of success will enable you to establish a professional brand that demonstrates that you are a top performer. The premise is that if you are successful in the role that you currently hold, then those success factors will translate well into a position you wish to hold in the future. Even if you are not doing what you want to do long-term, strive to be the best at what you are doing now. It will pay off in the long run. You may be promoted and if you have been on a promotional track in your current organization, this actually looks very good on your resume for both internal and external job opportunities. In addition, when it is time to request a referral or letter of recommendation for a new job, you will have raving fans going to bat for you! Establish a track record of success and strive to make your name synonymous with core values like effectiveness, reliability, accuracy, consistency, and trust.
2 - Create value in your organization. If you are not already, strive to become the go-to person that others can rely on. This will require you to ditch the idea that “it’s not my job.” Go above and beyond assigned duties as long as doing so doesn’t impeded your ability to successfully perform in your assigned role. Your ability to problem solve and improve business outcomes are coveted by organizations. So, be willing to collaborate with other team members or departments to meet goals. This increases your visibility among key stakeholders in the organization and helps you to establish trustworthiness and a strong professional brand. Collaboration also helps you overcome any doubts or misconceptions others may have about you. Teaming up with others will help you build a reputation as a hard worker and someone who is competent and capable of producing results! If you hear about new projects or opportunities, step up to the plate and don’t be afraid to get involved. Be creative and voice ideas even if they are not accepted, because it shows that you are vested and thinking strategically about a particular project and its outcomes. You may be credited for saving or making the company money! This is how you create value at work.
3 - Build your professional Network. This can be in or outside of your current organization. It may require you to join a professional association related to your future career. People who belong to these associations typically work in key roles in their respective organizations and contribute to establishing professional standards for their field. You can benefit from joining professional associations because doing so is helpful in establishing relationships with these professionals, who can serve as mentors, prospective employers, or professional references once they get to know you. By becoming actively involved with committees and events held by the association, you can increase your visibility to the membership. This opens up conversations and interactions that build your brand recognition among key personnel. Remember that old adage “it’s all about who you know?” I would go so far as to say – it’s all about who knows you! You can create value as a member and strive for the same collaboration with other members as you would at work. There is a cost associated with joining professional associations, but your return on investment – priceless! You don’t have to join immediately – you can audit a professional association first by attending their networking events and experiencing it for yourself. If you see value in becoming a member, go for it. The key in expanding your professional network is you must take an active role in branding yourself to your new network. You cannot be passive, you must interact with and engage other people. What you put into these professional relationships is what you will get out of them.
These are just 3 tips you can start to implement in your professional life. Start taking control of your professional brand. When others hear your name, their opinions will resonate from their experiences in working with you at work or in the community. Your work ethic, actions and results will define you as a professional. Therefore, getting to know others and positioning your skills and competency in front of those who may need someone with your talent is a smart way to create a demand for your professional brand.
Sonja Moffett is the ProChange Agent. She is a member of the National Career Development Association and a Global Career Development Facilitator with over 8 years of experience in recruitment and career consulting in private practice and at the university level. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
So you are thinking about working for a staffing agency. It is a great idea if you need to expedite your job search or if you have been having difficulty marketing your self to employers. There are rules of engagement when working with a staffing agency. The relationship between a recruiter and candidate is a symbiotic relationship. You need one another. Candidates should take the interview process with recruiters seriously. They have access to the employer and before they are confident enough to send your credentials over to the hiring manager, they must have confidence in you beyond your resume. So, some may have you come in for a face-to-face interview to assess your verbal and non-verbal communication skills. How you articulate in that pre-screen interview will offer the recruiter more insight into your personality and your ability to persuade the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job - whether temporary or permanent. The recruiter may also take that time to coach you for the interview if you impress them enough to move you forward in the interview process. So, while making that trip to their office may be a bit inconveniencing at first, it could be the difference between landing a job or not. Remember, the recruiter is your employer - not their client. So always be professional when engaging with the recruiter.
Some people become a little embittered when the recruiter does not get them an assignment quickly. The fact is, recruiters do not create jobs - they fill them. So don't become embittered if they have not been able to place you quickly. Not only do recruiters compete internally for candidates, they also compete with other staffing firms who are presenting their own candidates. The job search remains competitive. Granted - some agencies have exclusivity to some "job orders" but most of the time, their success hinges on timing and quality candidates. Their ability to market your skills effectively is critical so be sure to follow up with your recruiter in a timely manner.
Tips for engaging with your recruiter before you commit:
Look them up on LinkedIn and see how long they have been recruiting and what they did before they started. Recently, I was working with one of my students who just graduated out of her Master's program - she had been underemployed for a while, working for $11/hour to stay afloat - struggling while seeking a job in her degree field. Finally, a job came up at an agency and she was so excited! The recruiter told her that he will pay her $12/hour (in his mind - he gave her a raise). We checked his LinkedIn profile and he had been in his job for 1 month, was a new college grad (Bachelor-level - she has her Masters) and he worked all retail before that. In other words, this was his first recruiting job. I told her to choose another firm.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Stay humble and remember the rules of engagement: be professional, courteous and diplomatic at all times. Being a great candidate doesn't mean there aren't other great candidates to chose from. Therefore, take the recruitment process seriously from the very first call. Be responsive. Be timely with any document requests. Be personable without being too personal. Actually attend your scheduled interviews on time - even you if changed your mind because it is better to go and decline an offer than not show up and look unreliable. And finally, be excellent when you are on your new assignment - it could lead to a long-term permanent job. If not, it could lead to a quicker reassignment - because now your recruiter has confidence in your performance and trusts you to replicate your success with their other clients.
There are pros and cons in working with a staffing agency. I will only write about 1 each to save time. However, check back for additional pros and cons next month.
I read a post recently where a recruiter weeded out a candidate who would not drive an hour to meet with her. I understand the recruiter's reasoning to some degree, as mentioned - recruiters need to evaluate candidates before sending them to the client. They know the client's idiosyncrasies and can help coach a candidate to articulate their value proposition in an interview. Conversely, this seemingly uncooperative candidate may have had financial woes she did not want to share with the recruiter. Who knows? She may have had her car repossessed due to the inability to pay or had wasted valuable time and gas (which is expensive) in the past - to no avail and is jaded about her job search. So recruiters may not be as compassionate about your unique situation. A little more investigation can uncover barriers candidates face, but barriers should not equate to dismissal. Employment can change a person's life, especially if they have been out of work for an extended period of time.
The truth is, many competent, high-quality, well-educated, top-notch candidates are going to waste and companies are missing out on potentially outstanding employees who can make an immediate and positive difference in their business operations and profitability.
The questions for you become:
What value will you add as their employee?
Will you be able to transition into a full time employee with their client?
Will you be able to forge professional relationships with your recruiter and/or employees onsite that will garner referrals and letters of recommendations?
Let's discuss strategies: click here to contact ProChange.