Too many times I have come across finance personnel who get overlooked when it comes to climbing up the career ladder, they become disillusioned and start looking at the market to fulfil their dreams. Marketing yourself is something that finance professionals are very uncomfortable with, so how do you go about communicating your strengths to managers and peers without appearing to be bragging, which in turn can lead to diminishing your reputation?
There is a fine line between standing from your peers without appearing threatening and setting yourself up for a strong chance of gaining that promotion.
The answer lies in your own branding; this is the secret ingredient that can make you truly special. A carefully crafted brand will heavily influence how people perceive you in the workplace.
Branding only works where it is reflective on your own reality and personality but will fail if you portray yourself as something you are not. You should see your brand as an investment in your career.
One of the first things you should do is to look at how others see you. How do you turn up to work? Do you arrive early or run in dishevelled at 9am? Are you smartly dressed? Invest in a few good suits, co-ordinate your wardrobe, this does not have to be designer brands but a well-co-ordinated look will make you feel that you can take on the world.
How do you portray yourself in social media, have a look at your successful peers and see how they communicate their brand via this new media.
Another way is through continuously learning and updating your skills. It is amazing how often I hear from clients that an unsuccessful candidate had not updated their skills from when they originally trained. Making yourself available for internal courses and applying via your HR department for continuous learning will start to set you up for future success. You will become known as being a knowledge leader and expert in your particular area and someone that your managers and peers will approach when they require information or support.
Get involved in your professional body, attend events, sit up and listen and most importantly – network, talk to people, get yourself out there and bring back this knowledge to your managers and peers, what they will see is someone who is engaging and interested in learning and developing themselves.
If you have difficulty with public speaking, join organisations like Toastmasters, this will get you out of your comfort zone and get you on your feet.
Read and keep up to date with articles from your Accountancy Body magazine, some of this will go against your CPE for the year but more importantly, information you gather can be a talking point and support you as a subject matter expert with your peers and managers.
Making yourself available for adhoc project work even out of your field will support your quest in getting noticed. The more you can give to your employer, the more you will establish yourself as someone who can get things done.
The above is just a flavour of what you can do to increase your chances and take your career into a new phase. Marketing yourself this way will get you noticed and enable you to achieve this goal. This will enhance your recognition as expert in your field, establish reputation and credibility, and more importantly, build your self-confidence, and can help differentiate you from others.