Want to Improve Your Career? Be a Brand Ambassador
As a brand ambassador your network will develop naturally and connect you with others, positioning you as a source of information and as a connection to your organization. When you decide to be a brand ambassador, you may continue to strengthen relationships beneficial to you and your organization. For professionals it’s key to have a network of professionals who know you for your ability to use your skills in a variety of roles across industries. Remember it’s not just who you know—it’s who knows you and what you’re capable of. If cutbacks were to occur at your company, would they avoid letting you go? Are you someone who does a “good” job but isn’t well known? Can you really afford not to position yourself for being known for the work you’ve done and for the work you’re capable of? Being a brand ambassador positions you to grow your network while adding value to your organization.
It’s critical that you develop of variety of networks. You should also give in order to receive. Be willing to connect others and offer support if possible. You never know when someone you’ve helped may be in a position to help you. As part of your plan to develop your network you may identify organizations of interest, who you know within the organization and you connection to them. Consider these individuals direct connections in your network because they directly connect you to an organization of interest.
Perhaps you lack any direct connections to the organizations of interest to you. If this is the case, identify who in your network is connected to anyone at the organization and engage with them. Consider these individuals bridges in your network. If you lack direct knowledge of who may be a bridge, try using professional and personal connections and online professional networking tools such as LinkedIn.
Lastly, if you lack direct connections or bridges, identify who you need to connect with at the organization. This may be a hiring manager, vice president, or divisional director, manager or supervisor. An advanced Google search may prove useful to you in this instance or you may be able to obtain this information via the organization’s website, from a professional association, or via a local chamber of commerce. Remember to consider the colleagues of your friends and family, your alumni associations, and local community members’ as potential connections and bridges.
Numerous resources are available online related to networking. Networking is a critical component to every professional’s career and typically occurs naturally for brand ambassadors. For brand ambassadors who seek to leverage networking it’s important to consistently focus on staying engaged with your network and not simply focus on increasing the number of contacts you have—it’s quality, not quantity that matters. So start increasing the value you add today – be a brand ambassador, it’s good for your career.
Photo by Thomas Hawk, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.