All too often people find themselves stuck at crossroads regarding where their future lies with respect to their career. When everyone has more or less the same qualifications as you – how do you stand out?
If you’re ambitious and you want to see yourself at the top of your career ladder, you need to develop the ‘IT’ factor to make a difference. What is IT that makes you special? Why do you stand out against millions of others who have the same dreams as you and are probably just as good at their jobs as you are? The real difference between people who make it to the top and those who don’t lies in one key area – informed decision making. This can be applied across a wide range of scenarios when it comes to developing yourself in your workplace – the better you understand your field and how you fit into it, the better you can acclimatize to your surroundings and develop a reputation that will advance your career.
The ‘IT’ factor is simply how you stand out against fierce competition at work, and this is something you can develop at any age or stage of your career.
What is the ‘IT’ factor?
If you’ve ever wondered how some people can just walk into a room and make their presence known, then know that there is a lot of sustained hard work that goes behind building a powerful presence. The ‘IT’ factor is not something that develops naturally, you have to inculcate it. The easiest way to do this is by being really good at your job. The more you invest in yourself professionally, the greater the returns. But this investment doesn’t stop at just doing your job – that’s what’s expected of you already. If you want to shine, then you have to know your worth and make sure you can professionally prove that you are indispensable to your field.
The IT factor develops from sustained professional development and continued learning. The more skills you have, the more you know, the better you become at how you perform in your workplace – these all tie together to create a personal brand that reflects your professional reputation.
Competition is everywhere in the global marketplace as human resources far outweigh actual developed talent. Building your IT factor requires the creation of a strategy that prioritises personal branding alongside excellent workplace habits.
Personal branding and career advancement are intricately linked to each other. The second you step into your workplace, people form an impression of you. It doesn’t matter whether you are intentionally trying to develop a brand or not, by virtue of being at work, it is very likely that the people who work with you have a certain idea of you. That is your personal brand.
The good news is that you can control this perception by creating a branding strategy that is designed to promote your skills and showcase why you are indispensable to any organisation or field. However, before you begin to develop your branding strategy, there are certain things you need to set out clearly to yourself:
- The objective: This involves having a clear idea of where you see yourself headed towards in the future. The ever-popular ‘where do you see yourself ten years from now’ question is actually very effective in interviews because it is a way to tell whether you have set goals and milestones with respect to your career, or if you are still unsure.
- The dream: You don’t have to have a big dream, but you need to dream big if you want to succeed. The IT factor you are trying to develop necessarily involves building a mindset that builds you up as a name within your industry – and dreaming big is important here. The reason behind this is that you are more likely to want to achieve set goals if you believe it is taking you where you want to go in your career. A dream – anything from owning a business to getting that big office on the top floor is necessary. This is where you are heading and the motivating factor behind why you want to develop your personal brand. How you see yourself at the top will also show you the skills you need to develop to get there. If you want to be a manager, you need to learn the ropes behind leadership. If you want to be a creative director, you need to know the ins and outs of your art of choice before you can stand a fair chance of climbing your way to the top.
- The roadmap: Once you know what you want to do and where you want to go, you can start to develop a plan that will get you there. When it comes to personal branding – this is crucial as you will need to develop yourself in specific ways to attain career advancement.
- The skills: No one has ever achieved real success by simple luck alone. Victory is not a fluke and achieving your dreams will take effort. Identifying the skillsets you need to develop to have a competitive edge against your workplace peers will help your superiors see why you deserve the success you want. The better you get at your job, the more comfortable you will become when it comes to making the right decisions at your work. If you want to be better than the person at the top, you have to perform better than the person at the top.
Meaningful career advancement and personal branding go hand in hand. Continued professional development (CPD) invites you to find relevant resources that you can use to develop yourself as a career professional.
Developing a brand
The practical steps you can take to stand out and make an impact at work
Your brand is how people recognize you. It is crucial to understand that while you can present yourself in a certain way at work – the ultimate impression people will form of you lies entirely on them. This means that performing well and building talent that your company can utilize is necessary for good brand building. One factor that makes popular brands stand out against less popular brands in the marketplace is authority. You can learn from how corporations have developed their own brands and apply that to your own scenario when you are building your personal IT factor.
Authority is reliability
when the people you work with know they can depend on you to carry out your tasks, only then will you get more tasks that will help you to forge ahead. The more you prove your capability at work, the better you will get at instilling loyalty and trust among your colleagues. Consistency is crucial when it comes to personal branding.
You can develop the skills that will help you build this consistency through education and training. Lifelong learning is a part and parcel of career success. The world is advancing every day, and you have to make sure you can keep up with it. Taking courses that give you relevant skills you can utilize at work or looking for a mentor who can show you the ropes are the best ways of knowing what works for you at your career.
Mentorship and personal branding go hand in hand because it presents you with an excellent pathway where you can learn from people who have built a reputation within your field. Only after knowing how it’s done will you be able to replicate their success. It also opens up doors to networking and socialization – two key aspects of career growth. The more people know you, the more your brand can grow. A brand isn’t really a brand if only two or three people know about it.
The IT factor is not something you ever stop working on. Your reputation will grow with you as you advance your career, and that is why you need to know how to control that reputation if you want to achieved long term success. The IT factor is something the world sees in you and it can open doors you never thought possible – but the first door you need to open is the one in your mind. If you believe and can prove you’re worth IT, then chances are, everyone else will see it too.