How to Become a Brand, Not an Employee

Last updated: 02-01-2020

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How to Become a Brand, Not an Employee

Learn about the quick-hitting things you can do now to begin building your brand at work.

The following excerpt is from Kanika Tolver’s book Career Rehab. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

When you’re an employee, you often think you’re expected to only do what you’re told, and you don’t always see your knowledge as valuable. The employee mindset doesn’t challenge leadership or other team members to enhance or create a new, innovative way to perform an existing process.

When you have a branding mindset, on the other hand, you think of your expertise and knowledge like a product or service. Brands offer unique products or experiences that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s the same in the professional world: You have to go to work and provide expertise and unique experiences with your team members or clients that no one else offers. This personal branding can be experienced in the way you deliver your task, how you dress, or how you conduct yourself in meetings. People with a brand mindset present their best selves every day and constantly work to enhance their knowledge.

If you want to level up your mindset from an employee to a brand, you have to change the way you think about what you have to offer. Stop undervaluing your education, experience and expertise — they’re your core edifiers. You’re a brand, and you must learn how to edify yourself by identifying your brand.

To do that, use the Three Es:

Allow your edifiers to build the foundation of your personal brand. This foundation will help you get noticed by career builders and career agents who are looking to staff new employees.

Related: 8 Questions That Will Help Diagnose Your Current Career Status

Then you can use these three ways to maximize your identifiers:

The next step is to let go of the employee mindset you have. Writing an email or answering a question in a meeting is a key opportunity for people to recognize your expertise and personality. When you rise above mediocrity every day, people will become a fan of your work ethic and start to love you as a person, too. Employees find a way to only do what’s asked of them, but personal brands find a way to market themselves through their unique offerings and experiences.

Here are four ways to begin to let go of your employee mindset:

As you let go of your employee mindset, you’ll begin to adopt a branding mindset. This personal brand needs to match your career goals, desires, and dreams.

Here are three ways to embrace a branding mindset:

You add value in everything you do and everyone you come in contact with, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. The best way to present your personal brand is to always strive to go above and beyond.

Related: How to Turn Your Work-Related Stress and Anxiety into Accomplishments

Build you, being you

As you build your personal brand, authenticity is a great asset. When you align with organizations that embrace your personality and expertise as a college graduate, professional, or retiree, it creates a smooth transition if leadership and colleagues feel comfortable with you displaying your personal brand at all times.

Not every company will like your authentic self, so it’s important to assess the work environment and see how much it can handle of you simply being you. This isn’t to say that you should have no filter on what you say or wear your pajamas to work. What it means is that you can bring your authentic self to work by taking part in personal enrichment activities that help build your brand and use those experiences as touchpoints in your daily work, whether in meetings or in personal conversations with colleagues. To that end, here are ten ways to build on your education, experience and expertise for your personal brand:

If you want a solid personal brand, you must go beyond the basics of getting a degree, a new job, or a certification and help your brand grow beyond the confines of your current cubicle. The best corporate brands keep advancing their products and services by offering new products, marketing those products in new ways, and collaborating with media outlets and companies to advance their brands. You have to do the same thing if you want to increase your compensation and succeed against your competition.

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