Is it time to rebrand yourself at work?

Would you know when it’s time to rebrand yourself at work?

Building a personal brand for yourself means figuring out what you want to be known for, sharing your knowledge, and going out and making a name for yourself.

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But I want to be clear: You already have one of these personal brand thingies. But you might not be aware of it, for one big, important reason: You did not create it.

If you’ve been at your current workplace for more than say, a week, the people you work with have gone ahead and formed their own impressions, opinions and even judgments about who you are and what you bring to the table. In short, they have “branded” you in their own minds.

But from where you stand, that brand was created by default, not by design. And it may be costing you.

If this existing personal brand is misaligned with your career goals, you may get bogged down with tasks that lead you away from your ideal career trajectory. If your existing brand is mismatched with your strengths, you might find yourself fielding assignments that you struggle to accomplish without expending an inordinate amount of effort.

If your existing brand is out of whack with your passions, you may struggle to stay motivated to perform, and risk doing long-term damage to your personal brand. Or, if your brand is not seen as supporting what your organization values, you might toil away, doing thankless work that goes unrecognized.

Have you allowed others to define your reputation? If you’re coasting along, and never intervening to shape others’ perception of you, the long-term costs to your career might be high. You owe it to yourself to discover how you’re currently perceived and, if necessary, rebrand yourself.

When it’s time to rebrand yourself

Ask yourself: What am I currently known for at work? How do others perceive me, and what skills, or areas of expertise, do they associate with me? What impression immediately comes to mind when co-workers hear my name? And what do others say about me when I’m not in the room? In short, what’s my existing personal brand?

Don’t be discouraged if the answers to those questions don’t come easily. But if you don’t know how you’re perceived, I encourage you to find out. Ask a trusted colleague, manager, or mentor for feedback. Let them know you’re working on building self-awareness and that you’d like their assistance in understanding how you’re perceived at work.

Questions to ask include:

•What’s my personal brand at work?
•What three words would you use to describe me?
•What strengths, weaknesses, or expertise do you and others closely associate with me?
•How am I currently perceived by other members of our team?

Even better, request feedback from more than one person.

That’s what a field sales manager in one of my group coaching programs did. She sent text messages to six colleagues, asking “What three characteristics would you say best describe me?” The entire exercise took less than five minutes, and while everyone did not respond, the answers were a revelation. The feedback was so consistent that the sales manager gained an immediate and stronger understanding of how she was perceived. She able to identify her current personal brand, and as result, made a small but meaningful course-correction in her career plans.

If you want to attract meaningful, fulfilling work that challenges you and fits your strengths, take control of your personal brand. It’s the first step to creating a rewarding career.

Ready to get to work? Click here and watch my four-part video series on taking charge of your personal brand.

This article first appeared on Be Leaderly.