Think Like a Marketer: Four Tips to Fast-Track Your Career and Build Your Brand
By Kathleen Sebastian, Corporate Communications at White Lodging
As director of communications for White Lodging, a hotel management company with 165 properties nationwide, I witness every day the power of marketing a brand. Oddly enough, many of us who know this power don't use the lessons learned to build and communicate our own brands to fast-track our careers.
- Be your own brand ambassador
Promoting yourself is often a challenge, but it is a critical element of building your career – especially today. Think of yourself like a brand. Where can recruiters or your colleagues find information about you? What can they find? What does it say?
Social media is an important tool for building your brand. Everyone should establish their social footprint and continue to build upon it throughout their career. At White Lodging, we work with our associates and a team of social media ambassadors to encourage them to not only help build the White Lodging brand, but to leverage social networks to help build their own.
- Keep good company
It is essential to network no matter your current career level or the one to which you aspire. Surrounding yourself with inspiring and successful peers and mentors is critical. Look for networking opportunities in your area such as MeetUp or an industry association, and make every effort to reach out to people at the office you might not work with. Ask them to lunch or coffee, and pay for the meal out of your pocket. Learn what they do, broaden your horizons and network all at the same time.
It is also essential to understand issues beyond the four walls of your office. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry by keeping up with the latest trends and affiliating yourself with the influencers who are driving trends and decisions in your business.
- Look for leaders and companies that put you first
It is important that you work for a company that helps you put your career front and center. Not only will this help your brand, but the investment can ultimately help drive the company's business and recruiting efforts.
Many companies offer education incentives, internal training, support for sabbaticals, and affinity groups that can help you along the way. Both Glassdoor and the brand's website are valuable resources for up-to-date information on this. Conversely, it also helps to reach out to someone at your level within the company to get the whole story.
At White Lodging, we have a talent development team that is committed to putting our employees first. And our commitment starts at recruitment with our week-long "Flight School," which immerses new employees of all levels in the industry, our business and the plethora of career paths we offer.
- Stick to your guns and know your purpose
It is essential to have a game plan. Understanding your needs and staying focused on them will help keep you on track. Know what you excel at, where you need help, and what you want to do today, tomorrow and five years from now. Ask for advice, but only take the advice that lets you stay true to yourself. By having a business plan for your personal brand, you will ensure success from day one.
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