‘Shark Tank’ Yourself in Your Career

On the popular TV reality show ‘Shark Tank’ aspiring entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to potential investors. They’re not only marketing their ideas–they are also selling themselves. You may not be an entrepreneur starting up your own business and work for someone else for a paycheck, but selling yourself in the workplace remains the key to advancing in your company and in your career.

Just like any product for sale, you have distinctive one-of-a-kind assets–your very own unique combination of talent, knowledge, experience and raw brain power. To move ahead, it only makes sense to differentiate yourself from the pack by promoting yourself to the boss and to potential customers. How best can you demonstrate how your talents and capabilities are an invaluable asset both for your company and for your customers?

Here are a few simple secrets to create a personal brand which you can market within your present employer and perhaps at some point outside as well:

  1. Be proactive every day, looking upon yourself as a desirable product and your career as a business with you as CEO. You also are “Director” of an extended marketing campaign with a single product to sell–YOU!
  2. Routinely ask your boss and co-workers for constructive criticism.  When received, don’t treat the criticism as an affront but rather a personal challenge to improve performance next time. This doesn’t mean you should ask for feedback every day–only when you are undertaking a new assignment or one where you are not 100% comfortable with what you are doing.
  3. Take time out to determine where you want your career to end up then develop a personal strategic plan. Next, seek out assignments and exposure that will help get you to your intended destination. You are not likely to wind up where you want to go without a map of your journey and take-off in the right direction. Once your strategic plan is created, routinely chart progress toward fulfillment and modify objectives as circumstances and intentions change.
  4. Identify and evaluate your competitors. Routinely cooperate with co-workers who may have identical or similar career aspirations but keep an eye on them and steps others may be taking to advance their careers while leaving you behind. How can you establish an advantage and remain the best choice for promotion?
  5. Whenever in contention–even as a long-shot–for a promotion, visualize yourself continuously in your mind as an incumbent. How would an incumbent think, speak and act?  What skills are required and how can you improve on and demonstrate those skills? Are tasks performed day-in-and-day-out really those that bring you joy and satisfaction? Does the higher-up position require time or travel beyond your comfort zone? Will it stress you out?

To learn more about ten steps needed to create your own personal brand, tune in to the November 18, 2013 installment of my weekly Internet radio show, “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age.” (Google the title–our program link is at the top of page one.) My guest is Lisa Quast, author of the award-winning book YOUR CAREER, YOUR WAY, now in its second edition. Remember–this is the Internet so you can listen at your convenience any date and any time beginning November 18.  

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