Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
– Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com
Your personal reputation (which is your brand) plays a big role in your professional development. Here are some common issues that may come up with others’ perception of you:
1. You’re a “Jack of all trades”: it’s great to be adaptable, but in b-school you have a quick two years to make a highly targeted effort. Chances are that if others have a clear picture of your career interests based on your involvements, you will receive more information and opportunities that are right up your alley.
2. You’re seen as youthful (but not in the best way possible): if people still chuckle about your college exploits or ask about your age, it may be challenging to get your voice heard. Establish yourself as a valuable contributor, and this image will change!
3. You’re perceived as lacking “soft skills”: if you’re seen as smart as a whip (and that’s all), that may translate into being tough to work with. Take time to listen to your classmates and see if there are ways you could improve your communication.
4. You’re perceived as lacking “hard skills”: on the flip side, if you’re known to be good with managing people and organizing group events, your quantitative skills and strategic thinking might get overlooked. Evenly distribute your efforts as you collaborate with others, taking initiative in more quantitative tasks as well as the interpersonal ones.
5. Others don’t know your area of expertise: if you have a unique skill or passion, make sure that it is apparent whenever you present yourself to others.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, remember: you can change your brand before school starts! For those who have already started their programs, it might be challenging given how people have already formed their opinions about you – but remember, you have over a year remaining in business school; if you’re really dedicated to changing those people’s perceptions, it can be done!
Click here for tips on how to execute a personal rebranding.