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Guest Blog | How to Boost Your Professional Reputation

How To Boost Your Professional Reputation

 

By Francine Ryan, lecturer in law and member of the Open Justice Centre at The Open University. 

Brands and branding are usually associated with big companies like Google, Apple, Coca Cola, or McDonald's, but it is increasingly common to think of our workplace persona as being a brand, but very few of us consciously cultivate it. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon is quoted as saying, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room!” In the age of the Internet, it goes further than the room, whether we like it or not, our digital footprint is already defining who we are and what others think of us. In an increasingly competitive job market, taking responsibility for our personal brand is important to ensure we are creating the right impression. Here are some questions to think about to help you build your personal brand.  

 

Who am I and what do I do?

Thinking about individuals who have developed a powerful individual brand such as Michelle Obama, Richard Branson, or Baroness Martha Lane-Fox will help you focus on the values, qualities and skills you would like others to associate with you. In the projection of who you are honesty and authenticity are essential, you need to be confident in who you are and what you do.

 

Why is a personal brand important?

In the gig economy, where people are changing jobs on a regular basis building, a strong personal brand is critical. You need to find your voice and be confident in your ideas and beliefs by doing this you will stand out to prospective employers.

 

What does the Internet say about me?

You need to audit your online presence, so google yourself and see what the Internet is saying about you! Recruiters use social media to vet candidates and employers use it to check on employees. Every tweet, Instagram post and picture you share contributes either positively or negatively to your personal brand. You need to manage your digital presence to ensure it is communicating the impression you want to convey.

 

How can I develop my personal brand?

The role of a paralegal is varied, you can work in big or small teams, with opportunities arising in private practice, in-house, financial institutions or legal consultancy firms. But wherever you work and whatever you do, how you conduct yourself is the most important aspect of creating your personal brand. You need to develop and maintain a positive attitude, which let’s face it, is not always easy to do, but it will help you get things done and reach your long term career goals. Think about your working relationships with others, how do you interact with colleagues? Are you friendly, reliable, consistently delivering high-quality work, if you are, you are building a reputation for excellence? If you have the opportunity to work directly with clients ensure you are always welcoming, polite, and diligent because it should be an important part of your personal brand.

 

There are other ways outside of your job to develop your personal brand, writing for a blog, for example, is a great opportunity to hone your writing style and demonstrate you have something to say. Joining relevant organisations and going to events will allow you to build relationships and expand your network. Volunteering to help others is not just an inherently good thing to do, but it’s also an opportunity to grow professionally, allowing you to cultivate new skills and connections. One of the best online tools to enhance your personal brand is LinkedIn but you need to commit to regularly engaging and updating it to create impact.

In today’s job market, creating a personal brand is essential because it helps you stand out and is the key to succeeding in whatever you do.  

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