Wednesday, 15 January 2014 07:12

Project Manager Personal Branding

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Like it or not, people have opinions of you …how you dress, your performance, stature, dress smell and everything else about you. If you doubt this for a second, glance at someone in the office and jot down the following on a sheet of paper:

  1. What is this person’s management style?
  2. Why are they successful, or not successful?
  3. What makes them good at what they do?
  4. I would hire them because …
  5. People like them because …
  6. When this person talks, people …

Surprised? Now, shred the paper before someone sees it.

Personal branding is much like product branding in that both elicit thoughts, feelings and emotional responses. The above exercise could have been conducted about any one of many product brands you use every day. Personal Branding is ALL about image … like it or not, WHAT people think of and about you, as well as how you are portrayed electronically play pivotal roles in your professional success. 

Is your personal “Brand” instrumental in accomplishing your professional goals?

  1. What image do you portray?
  2. When people refer you, professionally, how is it done? What do they say?
  3. Do you convey the image and carry the reputation you desire?
  4. Why are you chosen, or not chosen for certain projects?

As project managers, we must create a brand that capitalizes on our strengths and differentiates us. This drives our:

  1. Overall visibility and image
  2. Ability to be awarded projects and advancements
  3. Perception as leader and value added resource
  4. Perceptions of credibility
  5. Personal trust and confidence

Here are five ways to begin developing a brand to differentiate you from the competition.

  1. Highlight what you bring to the table that is unique and specific? (we all have unique and specific areas of expertise within our respective PM approach) While this may not be overt, we should be able to coax feedback from management and a few of our co-workers to jumpstart this process. Highlight what is unique, why it is valuable? Is this story telling, team rapport, leadership?

  2. Clean up your on line profile – more and more attention is being paid to professional social media formats and your professional on-line profile. These profiles are basically a commercial for “you.” Make appearances in on-line Forums and Circles where your expertise and experience will shine as you contribute to professional discussions.

  3. Offer to speak a local meeting or gathering of professionals. This is your chance to highlight a topic you are an expert on and to get your name out there.

  4. Work toward relevant professional certifications. Certifications show investment professional and diligence and can be differentiators.

  5. Craft and hone your elevator pitch. Your resume can be gold, your accomplishments solid, your on-line profile exemplary . . . but unless you’ve honed your elevator pitch and can quickly convey who you are, what you do and your unique Brand, you’re sunk.

  6. Ask an image consulting firm to tell you what they see. Chances are, with the aforementioned areas, you will have done the majority of the legwork involved. Don’t be surprised if they find a few things that need to be rectified, as this is their job!!

Once your brand is in-tact, work to enhance and refine it. Seek feedback and constructive criticism on a regular basis. Re-visit items “A through D”, and “i-iv” above for validation!

Is your personal “Brand” instrumental in accomplishing your professional goals?

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Sean Lowe

Sean Lowe is a project manager and freelance writer with 20 years of experience managing systems integration, process development, security and compliance projects. He is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) by the Project Management Institute. He can be reached at Lowesean@mac.com.

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