Things move fast in today's world. You are constantly being watched and opinions are being created at record speed. Your personal and professional reputations are no longer separate. People do business with those they know, like and trust.... and social media makes many think they know you (even when they don't!!!). If you want to succeed in your career you must take ownership of your future.
Regardless of if you want to find a new job (been laid off?), advance within your current company (been a team player during the recession?), or branch out on your own (time to be your own boss!!!) you have to care about your networking and branding efforts.
Here are the top seven ways to stand out and guarantee career success.
1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself about what you do well, and the areas where you come up short. Do not try to be all things to all people, but instead be the best in the areas where you can dominate over your competition.
2. Identify how you are important to your business community. When you develop a strong network and brand, people will be aware of your actions. Know the ways that you are adding value to those in your circle of influence and make sure they are conscious of this as well.
3. Let others know what you want to accomplish. If you have a goal and you keep it to yourself, then there is one person who can find the quickest path to success (you). When you communicate your desires to other people then you have an entire team of people who can discover the way to your victories.
4. Help others succeed. Helping others will not take time away from your own pursuits of success. Instead it is the fastest way to create loyal friends and a reputation as somebody worth knowing. Too many people say they will help others after they reach the top, but never get there. Instead, help people all along the way and you will see others pushing and pulling you toward your goals.
5. Show up. You cannot establish a reputation if you only spend your time at work and home. You have to network, which often involves participating in industry and civic organizations. Just joining these groups does you little good, you need to be a visible and active member to reap the rewards and harness the power of business relationships.
6. Find a mentor. Those who have climbed to the top are often full of wisdom and short-cuts which they are happy to share with others. Seek out mentors who can help you master your skill sets and spread the word about the value you bring to the business ecosystem.
7. Speak, write, publish. Position yourself as the expert and you will be seen as such. The fastest way to establish your professional reputation is to speak on industry panels and write articles for trade publications. If you feel you are too shy to do this, then realize you are handing your highest levels of success to a competitor.
In all economic conditions there is a need to pay attention to and cultivate your career. Few people reach the top by accident. For more tips to energize your career, read my new book "Batteries Not Included: 66 Tips to Energize Your Career" (New Year Publishing, 2009).
Have A Great Day.