4 Ways to Use Your Annual Review to Build Your Brand

At this time of year, many companies are undergoing their annual performance review processes. While the value of performance reviews, as we’ve come to know them, can be debated, a review presents the perfect opportunity for you to enhance your brand with your boss, and with the company.

Dress Up – I used to manage someone who always dressed up for his performance reviews.  At first I thought it was funny, and said to him “you don’t need to dress up for this!”  He replied that he really valued his review and felt it was a good time to put his best foot forward. Dressing up is a great way to show your boss that you take the meeting seriously and value the time.

Be Open to Feedback – Go in to your review expecting that your boss has some constructive feedback for you. Don’t be defensive and start making excuses for things you need to work on. Even if you don’t agree, it won’t do your reputation any good to get into a debate.

Share Your Goals – Your annual review is a perfect opportunity for you to think and talk bigger picture. Let your boss know how you would like to grow over the next year. Maybe there are special projects you’d like to get involved with, take this chance to show your boss that you’re thinking about the future and how you can make a bigger impact at the company.

Give Thanks – Show appreciation to your boss for taking the time to have this kind of meeting with you.  Good bosses put a lot of effort into reviews – writing comments, ratings, and preparing for the conversation. Giving thanks will show your boss that you value their opinion and appreciate their time.

In the fast-paced world at which we all move, the opportunity to have a dedicated discussion with our boss about our own performance is rare. Take advantage of this opportunity, put your best foot forward and build that brand of yours!

What other ideas do readers have to improve their brand during their performance review?

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog

Building Your Brand While Working Remotely

As the footprint of companies spreads geographically, today, more and more workers are working remotely, rather than in a corporate office.  While telecommuting can bring benefits, like flexible work hours, it can also prove challenging when it comes to building your personal brand internally at your company.

So how can remote workers enhance their brand?

  • Visit headquarters as much as possible.  Take advantage of opportunities to travel to corporate for meetings or training. Encourage your boss to advocate for this type of travel. When it comes down to it – positive face-to-face interactions are your number one way to build your brand. When visiting headquarters – do your best to make connections. Grab lunch with the head of marketing, or drinks after work with a VP of some sort.
  • Shine at company gatherings. Even for remote employees, there are typically some opportunities for in-person interactions. Whether it be a regional sales meeting or representing your company at a trade show with other employees. Use these opportunities to socialize and build connections.
  • Pick up the phone.  Don’t just send e-mails all the time. It can be difficult to build your network through e-mail alone. Instead of always sending e-mails, call people on the phone – and encourage people to call you.
  • Video conference.  Again, there’s nothing like looking someone in the eye when building solid connection. Better than a phone call – use tools like FaceTime or Skype to have video conferences instead.
  • Be active in company-driven social media. If your company is using social media tools like LinkedIn groups or Twitter to build their brand, see how you can get involved by participating. If your company is using internal social media tools like wikis, blogs, or Yammer – put yourself out there by sharing market or trend information.

While being a remote worker makes it a bit more challenging to build your brand within your company, it’s not a possible endeavor.  If you are, or have been, a remote worker – what are some of the strategies you’ve employed to build your reputation with your organization?

This post originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog.

No Matter the Job, You Can Build Your Brand

Some people have a tendency by some to look down upon more entry-level jobs; jobs like retail, food service, cleaning or landscaping. Most of us have held these types of jobs at some point in our careers. While these jobs are not renowned for being high paying resume builders – they do pose an opportunity for those in these jobs to build their brands.

A couple of examples…

Almost daily, I grab lunch at the Whole Foods Market near my office. Every time I go in, there’s a gentleman who bags groceries and collects the carts in the parking lot. He is always smiling, laughing and having fun with the kids who come through; joking around with them or giving them little treats. This guy obviously loves his job and many of the shoppers greet him by name. Many of the kids go looking for him specifically. While one could argue that a job bagging groceries lacks challenge and earning potential, this gentleman makes the best of it.  He shows people he interacts with that he is passionate about what he does, is great with customers, and has fun at work.

The next example is that of a landscaper I’ve hired. He’s a young guy trying to build his own business. While mowing lawns may seem like a basic service, it’s the little touches he adds that draw people to his service. He has a perfectionist mentality with a very keen attention to detail. His finished product is impeccable, so much so that neighbors stop by the house to find out who this guy is! Through his hard work, focus, and attention to detail he’s building a reputation as the kind of person you want to hire.

Regardless of the job you may be in right now, make the best of it. Through positive interactions that leave your customers impressed you will be able to build your brand, and who knows what opportunities that can lead to.

 

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog.

Build Your Personal Brand Through Volunteerism

Whether you’re in between jobs, in school, or working full time, volunteering is a great way to build your personal brand. Sharing your time with non-profit organizations can help you build your network and develop your skills while doing some good for your community.

Volunteering shows you’re team oriented.  When you give your time to organizations in need, you show others that you want to make an impact in your community, in a way – team spirit.

Volunteering expands your network.  You will meet and build relationships with employees of the organization as well as like-minded members of your community who are also volunteering their time.

Volunteering sharpens your skills. Seek volunteer opportunities that draw upon your skills. If you are a web designer – look for an organization who needs a website overhaul. If you’re in marketing, you can find development or PR opportunities. I’ve personally donated my time giving harassment training to a non-profit organization staff, saving them from having to hire a consultant to perform this training.

Volunteering shows that you like to keep busy. Especially if you’re out of work, donating your time to a non-profit organization will show potential employees that you’re not satisfied sitting at home.

Volunteering says a lot about you. It shows that you are altruistic, helps you keep busy and keep your skills sharp, all while making a difference in your community.  Now that’s what we call a win-win situation.

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog

Should You Show Your Stripes? Politics & Your Personal Brand

In this highly contentious election year, politics are everywhere. Surf the web, flip the channels, or tune your radio and right before your very eyes or ears talking heads everywhere are dissecting and opining on politics in the U.S. and the 2012 Presidential Election.

According to the Pew Research Center, the political climate in the U.S. is the most polarized it has been in 25 years.  To get at this, Pew has been conducting and tracking surveys since 1987 measuring 48 political values among US voters.  The results?  The gap in values between Democrats and Republicans has doubled and for the first time ever is greater than any other demographic – gender, race, class, etc.1

So what does all this mean for your personal brand and your job search?

We all fall somewhere on the political spectrum; some of us are passionate about our beliefs, which often translate in to action: from desktop politicking by promoting candidates and positions through social media tools to campaign volunteering and activism.

You may feel compelled to list your blogging with the Obama campaign, or your phone banking with the Romney campaign on your resume.  And why not?  You gained valuable real world experience doing these things that can easily transfer to the working world; but with the country being so polarized, there is a high likelihood that you will encounter people in your job search who think differently than you when it comes to politics. Being so open about your leanings can leave you open to discrimination.

You need to be cautious as to how, or if, you demonstrate your political allegiances.  

If you are compelled to politic – play nice – don’t get personal, hit below-the-belt, or call names.  Make educated arguments to support your points, and always stay professional.  Be extra careful about how you communicate any views which may be considered to be extreme by some.

Personally, the path I have chosen is to almost completely limit my politicking to my personal social circles (Facebook), and to minimize reference to my political beliefs on my public social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn) allowing little insight into my political persuasions to potential employers.

Ultimately, the choice is yours.  What is the right ratio for you between freedom of expression and the personal brand you want to portray to the professional community?

1 – Pew Research Center, Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years, June 4, 2012 http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2277/republicans-democrats-partisanship-partisan-divide-polarization-social-safety-net-environmental-protection-government-regulation-independents

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog (www.personalbrandingblog.com)

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