Own, Build and Distribute Your Brand
Your name is your brand. Own it, build it and distribute it. It’s all you’ve got and you’re both one tweet away from getting fired and one Google search away from not getting a job.
What happens when you Google your name? Do you own all of those links? You should. From your own domain name to your social media properties, you should own it.
What assets have you built on these properties? Are you writing articles? Tweeting relevant content? All of these pieces will help you rank higher in Google and allow your properties to outpace your summer ball hockey statistics (that’s impressive, but won’t help you get the job). Get out there and build your brand (or check out this presentation I delivered in February about how to build your digital brand).
Where is your expertise distributed? Which audiences have you reached? A great piece of content likely has many places where it could be re-published. Go find those places and get your distribution. Just be sure to use a canonical link if it’s the exact same content!
Plan for Your Success
One of the lofty expectations I hear from new grads is that they will “receive” a promotion within the first 2-3 years of their working lives.
Promotions are earned, not received
Promotions will be earned by those who chase after them, relentlessly. They will not exclusively be earned by the smartest, hardest working, or most talented individuals. They will be earned by those who are planning for it. The workplace (unless you work for the Dallas Cowboys) is not always a meritocracy. You need to seek it out. You need to have thoughtful conversations about your future with your leadership and establish a plan to get you there. You need to put in more effort than you’ll immediately be rewarded for, which seems challenging, but is part of the process.
Having a yes mentality doesn’t mean “Yes, but what’s in it for me?”
Work the unpaid overtime. Work the night shift that no one wants.
Be the first one in the office. Be the one that volunteers to be the team mascot. Be the one that went to a weekend seminar on leadership. Be the one that went to the Chamber of Commerce lunch.
Once you start living this life, you’ll meet like minded individuals who can help propel you further.
Be Loyal to People
You may initially think that your loyalties are organizational – tied to a brand, a building or a set of principles. In reality, you’re likely loyal to a leader. That loyalty is stronger than anything you will have with a corporate face.
Too many of us are at risk of stress burnout due to company loyalty – heck, I’ve been there. While we aren’t at yet at Japanese “Karoshi” levels in Canada, this is something that all of us who are “going the extra mile folks” have to keep in mind. As much as I’ve written about “being the one who…” you can’t compromise your health. I highly recommend you read more about burnout here. Ultimately, you need to be loyal to yourself and to the people you work with, as opposed to a corporate logo.
Form your “board of directors” or mentorship circle and be loyal to them. They will always have your best interests at heart.
Loyalties exist between people, not between you and a CEO that needs to make shareholders happy. Act accordingly.
Make Things Happen – Take Risks
Above all else, you need to make things happen. It will be easy to float along and agree with people. It will be easy to fly under the radar and ask others what they think and then form an opinion. What’s more challenging is doing the research, finding out the background, and checking with a source no one thought to investigate.
The people who really make things happen are those that are willing to take the risk. I know, because I was one of them. I questioned all of my data before presenting it, often to the point of paralysis of analysis.
Have confidence in your research, if it’s wrong, that’s fine, but do the work ahead of time and present an opinion. You’ll often be more respected than those who said nothing or did nothing.
Who knows, maybe one day someone will give you a t-shirt for making things happen 😉