How do you make a serious impact with your personal brand? Here’s five essential things you need to be doing.
Recently, a journalist on LinkedIn asked ‘Who is making waves in procurement and supply chain?’ and we were so incredibly chuffed that a number of our incredible members tagged Procurious! We loved the compliment, but it really got us thinking – how is it that someone can make an impact in this industry that we love so much? And what tactics/techniques can we all use to help amplify our own personal brand and increase our chances of being successful?
If you’re a procurement professional, here are five things you can do to help boost your personal brand and get noticed by those who matter.
1. Have a killer profile picture
If you’re using professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn or Procurious, you may very well meet someone online before you do so in person. This means that you’ll want to put your best digital face forward. But what should this look like?
Firstly, you’ll need to select (or take) a photo of you that looks professional. In order for it to be so, make sure that it’s taken in soft, natural light – bright lights aren’t that flattering, no matter how good looking you might be! Beyond this, make sure that you’re the only one in the photo, and that you’re wearing what you would wear to work to amplify your professionalism (or even better, dress for the job you want, not the one you have!).
When taking your photo, make sure that your face takes up the majority of the frame, and choose the right expression (a smile usually works well!). In order to look as professional as possible, make sure that you have someone else take the photo and avoid any distracting backgrounds.
Remember, profile pictures really matter. Research has shown that on online networks, your profile is up to 14 times more likely to be visited if you have a good profile picture.
2. Develop thought-leadership content
When it comes to marketing yourself – which, in essence, is what personal branding is all about – there’s nothing better than creating content. But do you need to be a design extraordinaire or trained journalist to do this? Absolutely not! There’s lots of different ways you can share your valued opinion and expertise online.
One way is simply asking questions and commenting on discussions and blogs, which you can do easily online, including right here on Procurious.
And there are multiple other ways, as well. If you’re wanting to share your expertise with others, you can volunteer to appear on an industry podcast, create a vlog (which are becoming increasingly popular on LinkedIn and other online platforms), or write long-form content, which you can post on your LinkedIn profile or alternatively, volunteer to guest blog on other industry sites.
3. Regularly put yourself out there (including at events)
When it comes to influence and personal branding, a lot of it comes down to presence. Are they aware of the impacting you’re making? Are you getting noticed? Do people remember you and will they think of you next time?
Developing and nurturing a personal brand is a lot like trying to get a new job. You might get lucky the first time you try, but more than likely, you’ll have to keep trying and trying to get where you need to be. Your personal brand is no different. Whether you’re publishing thought leadership content, participating in discussions or speaking on panels, you’ll need to do so regularly so you’re more likely to be noticed – and remembered.
A great way to continually put yourself out there is to attend industry events and conferences, many of which are currently happening online. Check out the ones Procurious are currently hosting.
4. Create a standalone website
When it comes to personal branding, authenticity is important. But appearing authoritative is just as important, and one way to do so is through a standalone website about you, personally. The website can feature your blog, conferences you’ve spoken at, and any other awards or accolades you’ve received. A great example of a personal branding website within our industry is that of Sheri Hinish, Supply Chain Queen. Procurious founder, Tania Seary, also has her own excellent personal website.
5. Be a little controversial
You may not find this advice in many other personal branding articles, but here at Procurious we know it to be true: you can put yourself out there regularly, but if you’re saying that same thing as everyone else you won’t get noticed. You’ve got to say something unique.
You’ve got to say something different. And oftentimes, different means controversial.
As we all know though, we have professional reputations to maintain, and controversial need not be too controversial, especially if what you want to say is a little negative. But at the same time, it’s only be challenging the status quo and daring to say things that others may not that you’ll stoke discussion, and get noticed.
One shining example of this is Procurious member and founder of Procurement Excellence, Peter Smith. Peter has become well-known for his unique and controversial opinions, and has even authored a book based on his opinion that organisations waste billions through avoidable failures and fraud.
Your personal brand is a career-long investment
Your personal brand, just like your career, requires constant effort and investment to pay off. But once it does, the result is truly priceless. An effective personal brand can open doors and opportunities you never would otherwise have imagined, and be the key to you getting where you want to be.
What are you doing to grow your personal brand? Tell us in the comments below.