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Have you ever felt like you were working hard and acing your job … but not getting anywhere? Your professional brand—or collection of skills and personality traits you’re known for—might be to blame. Sometimes you can do almost everything perfectly but let a few small personality quirks get in the way of your next promotion. To fix your professional image, try asking yourself a few questions.
1. What do people think of you? To find out how your coworkers perceive you, follow the steps in last week’s Career Hacker post, Want a promotion? Find out what people think of you.
2. What do you need your professional brand to be? This depends on what you want to do next. If you’re gunning for CIO, you’ll want to be known as a leader who understands your organization’s big picture. If you’re looking for a developer spot, you might wish to cultivate an image as someone with top-notch problem-solving abilities.
3. What can you realistically achieve? You can’t make a 180-degree personality transformation; you need to reach for more realistic goals. If you’re a perfectionist, you’re not going to cultivate an image as a relaxed coworker. And if you hate working in a team, don't even think about faking a collaborative spirit.
First, own your faults. Perhaps you’re prone to being disorganized. Accept that you probably always will be. While you shouldn't give up on trying to improve your organizational skills, accepting that you’re disorganized allows you to compensate for this trait. It also gives you the freedom to ask coworkers for help. That might mean requesting people to remind you when you forget to respond to emails, or insisting that people put meetings in your calendar instead of inviting you verbally. Don’t use your weaknesses as an excuse for inconsiderate behavior, but also don’t squander too much energy attempting to change a trait you were born with.
Here's what you should work on: