10 Tips to Position Yourself as a Valuable Professional

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When positioning a brand, aggressively avoid becoming a "me too" by assertively being a "who else"?
Crystal Black Davis

This is going to be a short marketing lesson from which you will learn how you can apply some very simple marketing principles to max out your professional character. First of all, you need to understand what a brand stands for. A brand is the sum of projections the public has about a product, a service or a public person.

It is the way in which the “item” is seen by others. The attributes of the brand are also projected by the ones who come in contact with it and this marketing process is called positioning.

For example, if a fashion company states that its products are luxurious, premium, but also enable a fresh and cool look, they won’t be convincing unless the brand acts in this direction and you can see the products in question used by a person who fits the description, like a young star from the movie industry.

You get the point, right? So, starting from the short description above, here is how you could use the marketing knowledge in making your personal professional brand an attractive one, which people around you will see as a valuable human asset to have in their team and company. So let’s see what you could do to leverage a positive attitude from others towards yourself.

1. Appearance. You should always pay attention to the way you look, the way you dress, the way you hair and makeup look and the way you visually present yourself in general.

Make sure that your attire represents who you want to be from a professional point of view. You can’t go wrong if you choose to wear a smart casual outfit, with just a touch of originality: try to use some representative accessories like a watch, a scarf, a broach or a statement bag. This applies both for female and male apparel, if you don’t want to have a mediocre and unnoticeable look.

But be careful, don’t exaggerate with too many fashion trifles. 

2. Know your business - this means that you don’t just have to look like you are a good professional, but you also have to talk like one. Translation: you actually have to be one. So start reading a lot of material about what you are working on and grow your knowledge and expertise.

3. Don’t give wrong answers, because if you do and people will notice, you risk looking like an imposter. So better refrain an answer if you are not sure about what you are saying and in exchange, learn how to say “I have an idea, but please let me double check this and get back to you”. You’ll see that this line will keep you safe and also spare you from any malicious comments.

4. Emphasize your expertise - by trying to get involved in as much extra activity as you possibly can. Try to participate in other projects than the ones you are handling by default in your job, and try to even do some volunteer work if you have the necessary time. This will be highly appreciated in your resume.

5. Don’t be too available - this may come as a contradiction to the point above, but the trick is like that: you should be available for the projects you choose to work on and for the people you choose to work with.

If however somebody comes to you and asks your input in some other project, you should always try to highlight the fact that you are already very busy with other activities, but that you would like to help and that you will do your best to make space in your schedule for this.

Then, when you actually come back with an affirmative answer, your collaboration will be much more valued than it would have been if you would have accepted right from the beginning, because it will be perceived as an effort from your side.

6. Don’t sell yourself cheap, because if you do, people will start to perceive you as a cheap professional who delivers low-quality service.

Even if it’s not the case. It’s like choosing a product in a supermarket: when you pay more, you expect a better quality product and you most probably think it tastes better than the same product from a different brand, at a lower price. You know why? Because people smell, taste and see what they want to see.

So the secret is to know how to set the expectations towards your brand. And this principle applies here too. So try to set an at least above average fee for the work you can provide. 

7. Surround yourself with people who are considered savvy in your field of activity. Try to engage with people who could help you in your career, who are at least at your professional level or higher.

Try to find people who could be mentors in your professional path. In a first instance you should look inside your company and see to whom you could get closer, invite them to lunch, or set up meetings on interesting subjects on which you can change thoughts and ideas. Another option to grow your professional network is of course the internet, with its very useful social media platforms.

Don’t have a LinkedIn account yet? You should make one right now and start connecting with others who have the same professional interests as you do. Make advantageous associations between your person and others and you will gain some positive image points.

8. Attend highly reputed events from your industry, because these are the places where you can meet people that can help you in your career, with whom you can establish productive collaborations. Also, the professional events you are joining constitute relevant information to add to your resume. 

9. Have a great resume, because this is your most important business card. It’s like a promotional material about you, a flyer or a brochure, if you’d like. So it has to be really awesome and representative for you. First of all, try not to use a common design for it, because your resume has to be the opposite of common.

The internet is full of resources that you could use, so you only have to make time to search for the perfect layout that you can personalize. Use something professional and clean, not glamorous or flashy in style, because these are not suitable for a job application. And always keep your resume up to date so you will always be prepared to pass it on if anybody asks for it.

10. Write on a personal blog about your work and share your opinions in a place where they will endure for a long period of time.

Of course that you can do this also on your social media accounts, but a status update only lives a day or two where on the other hand, a blog post can easily be there for as much time as you want and it can also show up in search engine queries for people who try to find information on the subject you wrote about. In time, you can become an authority in your field of activity. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Try to implement as much as possible from the tips suggested above, and you should start seeing a positive shift in the perception others in the sense that you will be more and more regarded as a professional character.

Which is the first thing you would like to change in your professional behavior? Do you have any suggestions and tips that we can all apply in our work environment? Please voice your opinion by commenting below. .