When working with my executive coaching clients, or presenting to a group of leaders, I am struck by how often people identify with what they do versus who they are and what they have to offer. In the extreme they spend more time selling their employers than themselves. Good for Company X, bad for aspiring worker.

I created a list of areas where you can enhance your brand to promote yourself, or should. It's what I call Aspects of Personal Branding in the Workplace.

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): You've heard me talk about USP before. It is what makes you unique, or at least different or special from the herd. It could be you are one of the few tech people with a law degree, you're bi-cultural, have connections in a partnering industry, or maybe you can close a deal better than anyone in the place. It can be a big deal but often it's a small piece that makes you desirable to your employer and somewhat untouchable in difficult times. And if competitors or headhunters know of your existence you are getting the calls and e-mails.

Your Outside Brand: This is what people see. In a casual dress work environment this is harder, especially for men. How do you not look like every other guy in the blue shirt with dark trousers? Grooming becomes even more important and footwear a subtle definer. I often pass the corporate offices of a global investment institution and can easily count the number of female executives with red soles (Louboutins). Watches, while less essential for time keeping, still hold a place in the style/status/conversation arena. Many of you know I am known for the autumnal palette I wear year round and as the New York woman who never wears black. You'd be surprised how much this plays as part of my brand. Step back and ask yourself, “What do I want my appearance to say, and how am I getting there?”

Your Business Style: It can be as simple as the way you greet (or don't) people at the beginning of the day, your openings and endings of e-mails. Are you often the leader in a discussion or the one more likely to sit back and take it all in? Do you generally take an optimistic or pessimistic approach? (Both have a place at the table.) Inclusive or more elitist? Bold or reserved? Are you known as the idea generator or the protector of the treasures? The early adapter or the mainstreamer? Are you the oral or the written communicator? The fire preventer or fire fighter? Every one of these roles is essential to an organization. The question is, “How do you act?”

Your Brains, Knowledge, and Skills: When are you the go to person? In what areas and on what topics should you rightfully take on the title of expert or specialist? These can be hard or soft skills. “When it comes to seeing a flaw in our premise, Chris is the person.” Or “No one will rally this group faster than Jordan.” In the interviewing process candidates often forget, or assume, that talents they have are either obvious or owned by everyone. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It's part of your brand. Individuals who grew up in bi-lingual families see speaking a second or third language as every day. Not true for most of your monolingual colleagues. I challenge you to make a list of 100 areas of expertise and skills you have that are impressive, desirable or just plain interesting. Now I ask — how many of these are known to your boss and colleagues, your clients or even your network?

Your Management and Leadership Styles: Are your very hands-on or a more exception-only type? Lead by example or direction? Do you pride yourself in being involved in the intricacies of all projects or can you tolerate the fact you don't know it all? Different positions require different types and styles of management. Where is your sweet spot? If we surveyed the people who work for and with you, how would they describe the way you operate? Is your leadership toolbox varied and when and how are you at your best? If someone were to ask, “Who is the best person to take on this project?” What type of work and group would it involve for the answer to be YOU? This is part of your brand.

Integrity and Reputation: Nothing can create havoc with a brand (be it personal or a product) then a bad rap. On the other hand, nothing enhances your career more than a mantle that says, “I can be trusted to operate within integrity.” Too many smart people have found it difficult to get to the next level, move employers, or source funding, because their shady history precedes them. That said, I am also looking for examples of reputable behavior — leaders who treated their employees honorably during a lay-off situation, adults who might be questioning the ethical quality of what is being touted as a “good business decision,” as well as the person who left a supervisor or organization because of unethical behavior. All of this contributes to your brand.

Your personal/professional brand is always evolving regardless of your effort or input. The question becomes, “Who do you want controlling your brand?” It could be circumstances, others (particularly your competition) or you. What would you prefer?

(c) Jane Cranston.

Author's Bio: 

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and management consultant based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that accelerates their career trajectory, increases people management skills, and assists them in career change or job transitions. Receive Jane’s free “Competitive Edge Report” and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting http://www.ExecutiveCoachNY.com.