When most of us hear the word “brand,” we think of Coca-Cola or Nike – big companies with advertising budgets selling a product or service. But it’s not just businesses that have brands they need to develop and maintain. The reality is each of us has a “brand” – that is, how we show up in the world and the reputation we have with others. 

When it comes to professional success, from looking for a job to getting promoted, we should be conscious of how we are presenting ourselves to others.

Here are 5 tips to help build and maintain a personal brand for professional success:

          1. Think of social media as an extended resume

It can be tempting to post fun, crazy pictures of ourselves on social media with our friends going a little wild. But your future company or current manager might not be as amused to see you cut loose. Even universities these days do a little online research before deciding who to admit, and employers certainly do. Be careful about what you’re posting and the story it might communicate, no matter how innocent in real life.

          2. Mind your manners

Believe it or not, simple “please,” “thank you’s,” and even smiles go a long way to build your personal brand. I once had a security guard thank me on my last day of working for a large company because I always greeted him when I saw him while many others ignored him. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you’re being harassed or bullied in a work situation but treat everyone – from the janitor to the CEO – with respect and kindness.

          3. Continue learning and growing

Besides being excellent at your job, another way to get noticed is to keep learning and growing, both personally and professionally. From self-awareness training to practical skills classes, being a learner will develop your confidence and knowledge. 

Additionally, employing a growth mindset where you learn from your mistakes is an attractive quality in any employee.

          4. Seek to serve

When you attach yourself to a cause bigger than yourself, you’ll reap countless benefits. We are biologically wired to feel good when we help others and studies show altruism can lead to increased happiness. Small things like assisting someone with a project they’re struggling with or offering to jump in on a task are ways to show you’re engaged and ready to give 110% at whatever role you’re taking on.

          5. Never burn a bridge

When leaving a job, turning down an offer, or simply switching departments within the same organization, it’s important to maintain good working relationships with people around you. The saying, “It’s a small world,” definitely applies to business, especially if you are looking for different positions within the same industry. Since starting my marketing consulting business over 10 years ago, I’ve had several former colleagues and managers become clients based on the quality of our interactions while we worked together.

One important thing to note about personal brand building is this: progress is more important than perfection. We are human and, at times, will make mistakes. In those moments, we can take corrective action and/or apologize, and then improve how we perform next time. The important thing is to live consciously and intentionally so we maximize our own potential.

And if you need some motivation, feel free to borrow one of my personal mantras: “Show up. Kick ass. Love well. Live joyfully.”

About the Contributor:

Rachel K. Cross is the founder and Chief Business Sherpa of Rachel K Group, a boutique consulting firm specializing in brand, culture, and marketing communications strategy. She is passionate about helping brands realize their maximum potential so they can boldly impact the world. You can connect with her at rachelkgroup.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/rachelkcross/.