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Why Government Employees Need to Build Their Personal Brand

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Thu Nov 04 2021

Why Government Employees Need to Build Their Personal Brand
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When I talk to friends and colleagues who work in local, state, or federal government jobs about personal branding, they understand the concept but often feel it’s not for them. “Government is different from industry,” they’ve said. I’ve also heard, “In the public sector, there are systems in place for advancement.”

And it’s true, the government does operate differently from the private sector. But career-minded professionals can benefit from personal branding regardless of where they work.

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Personal branding is a way to deliver exceptional value to your employers—whoever they are— by being your authentic best self. It’s empowering for you and valuable to your organization. Having a strong brand makes you more influential and better able to impact the organization.

Innovation is as important for government agencies as it is for any other organization, and innovation is a positive result of personal branding. That’s because innovation comes from creativity, and creativity is a byproduct of diversity. Personal branding is diversity through differentiation, down to the level of the individual—where you offer your team something that’s not available from any other team member.

There’s competition for the best government jobs, and those who stand out can separate themselves from myriad others who are pursuing the same roles. Personal branding means building a positive reputation because of the unique value you offer consistently.

So, how do you go about building your brand in order to achieve success and increased happiness at work? It’s a three-step process:

1. Know

Uncover your unique promise of value—what makes you who you are. Be introspective about the six drivers of personal branding: your values, passions, superpowers, differentiators, purpose, and goals. You need to know who you are and what’s important to you before you start to express your brand. Once you’re clear about your brand from self-reflection, validate your self-perceptions with feedback from people who know you. Then take what you learn from the inside out and the outside in and distill it into your personal brand statement.

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2. Show

Once you’re clear about your brand, it’s time to tell your story. That means crafting your branded elevator pitch and bio. This allows you to express your brand to people who are making decisions about you. You also need to make sure your virtual first impression is aligned with who you are in the real world. In our new all-virtual all-the-time world of work, your first impression is more likely to be formed online than in person. The good news is that when someone is looking to learn about you in a professional capacity, they often start their research on LinkedIn, so crafting a LinkedIn About section (formerly called Summary) that’s authentic, differentiating, and compelling will ensure that the bits-and-bytes you is aligned with the flesh-and-bones you.

3. Grow

Growing your brand means expanding your visibility with the people who are making decisions about you. In the public sector, decision makers are easy to identify because every agency’s leadership decisions are public information. Likewise, strong personal brands are always visible, available, and valuable to their stakeholders. In the grow phase, you choose the tools you’ll use to share your thought leadership and point of view and commit to regularly communicating with your audience. In addition, you practice what I call brand integration. That means rethinking everything you do every day—every meeting you attend, email you write, and project you manage—and putting your stamp on them. Then people experience your brand without your having to brag or boast.

So, take the first step. As a public employee, you can easily serve the agency’s mission while simultaneously building your brand to align who you are with what you do and how you do it. Then watch your career soar while your professional happiness expands.

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