Personal Branding: Be an Advocate for Yourself

While your everyday job may offer various opportunities to be an advocate for your industry, company, or products and services, how often do you advocate for yourself and work on improving your personal brand? A personal brand is how you portray yourself both online and in person. As with a company brand, your personal brand should be consistent across all channels and should represent who you are.

iStock_000014300896_Small1. Decide what you stand for.
First, determine who you are, what your values are, and how you want to represent yourself. Choose three to five values that guide your moral compass, and design a strategy from there. Personally, I would use “trustworthy,” “committed,” and “respectful” to describe myself.

In my role as staff liaison to IMA’s technical advisory committees, these three values are essential. I conduct myself in a way that committee members have faith in how I communicate and respect their position on technical issues that impact the management accounting profession.

2. Share relevant content often.
Always be careful of what you post on a public social media profile. Delete inappropriate pictures or content on your profile that might discredit you, or make your profile private. Instead, post blogs or articles you wrote or share relevant research in your field. This will show your enthusiasm for knowledge sharing and career development. Creating a posting plan will help you stay organized and ensure you maintain a healthy stream of content.

It’s also important to share content with your coworkers who may have similar interests. This knowledge sharing at work can boost your reputation and can prove your integrity as an expert in your field. In turn, your coworkers might advocate for you as well.

3. Network and get involved with groups that interest you.
Connect with companies and causes you’re interested in to show what you’re passionate about outside of work. Not only will this boost your brand, but connecting with these companies online will give you real-time news updates and research in your news feed. You’ll also stay informed with industry networking events and meetings.

For example, I follow IMA® and Fairleigh Dickinson University, my alma mater, on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to stay connected with my company and what’s going on with other alumni at the University. I use the discussion forums as networking opportunities and as a way to search for in-person events the alumni association holds.

Your Personal Brand at Work
Becoming a self-advocate means you stick to your values. Since mobile apps are so readily available, your digital persona is at your fingertips 24/7. It’s very easy to share information these days. You can use it to your advantage, but don’t lose sight of your values and what you stand for. Being a professional online is just as important as acting professionally in person. As we become more and more tech savvy, don’t forget about the value of in-person connections. These interactions can leave impressions stronger than any digital footprint.

Written by Linda Devonish-Mills, CMA, CPA, CAE

Related Articles:
The Value Of Personal Branding For Small Business – Forbes
5 Steps to Fix Your Personal Brand When Insults Stick – Entrepreneur

Technology-In-Residence: The Evolving Role of the Traveling Professional

As IMA VP of Research & Policy and Professor-in-Residence, I travel a lot to our offices in China, the Middle East, and Europe as well as to conferences around the world. But I manage to stay connected to IMA Global Headquarters in New Jersey via technology – something that has increasingly made an impact on the business world. The increased global need for connectedness is fuelling the development of technology and changing how we use it and where we do business.

The Changing Landscapetravel
Technology has drastically changed how and where we do business since I started working at IMA in 2006. That first year I traveled extensively around China, working on our study of management accounting in the country. At that time, my technological options were limited, and it was a challenge to keep in touch with the office and my family. Now when I travel, I make sure to pack my tablet, smartphone, and laptop, which – together with my mobile hotspot – ensure I can work and stay connected at all times.

Social media is also now playing a larger role in business, bringing us closer to business partners around the globe, exposing us to new markets in various countries, and increasing customer engagement. I’ve also started tweeting this past year (follow me at @RaefLawson) and recently participated in Twitter chats regarding accounting education, which engaged audiences from around the world. It’s proving to be a great way to quickly exchange information with others.

Where We Do Business
Since I’ve joined IMA our association has transformed from being a U.S. association to a global one. We now conduct research globally, enabling us to source the best talent from around the world while providing more relevant and insightful research to our global members. Technology helps us better serve our members, and that is of paramount importance.

Advances in technology provide the opportunity for members of my team to work remotely and still be connected to home base. Cloud technology and other data-sharing programs help ensure our research team can stay in touch and work collaboratively no matter where we are.

How Business Is Conducted
Of course, technology can be both a benefit and a curse, depending on whether it is appropriately used and if appropriate limits exist. It seems like we’re all now constantly connected with our devices, and business – especially now that IMA is global – has become 24/7. Because we’re increasingly working from home or on location, it has become more difficult to shut off our work devices. This “digital office” allows us to tablet, phonecollaborate through e-mail, Skype, and other platforms to successfully complete our work in a timely manner.

The way we do research has also changed. The days of paper-based surveys are pretty much gone as the development of online survey tools has made conducting surveys much easier and more effective. The cost of distributing surveys has been slashed (or eliminated) as has the cost of getting data ready for analysis.

Looking to the Future
Going forward, it’s clear that performance expectations will rise as competition increases and technology evolves. At IMA we’re working hard to upgrade our technology in an effective manner in order to ensure that we can adequately serve our expanding, more diverse membership. This will help us not only produce more research of use to our members but also more value to them throughout the organization.

Where do you think technology will be in the next 5-10 years? How has social media changed the way you do business at your company?

Written by Dr. Raef Lawson, CMA, CPA, CFP, CFA
Follow me on Twitter @RaefLawson

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