One of the lessons I've learned throughout both my educational and professional life so far has been far more valuable than I could have imagined: the art of branding yourself.
No matter the goods or services you're selling, the industry you're working, or the people you're serving, the most important tool you have is to brand yourself. Focus on establishing your character, your mission, and your approach, and you'll continue to be successful from job to job, industry to industry, and business to business.
Your character. You always want to be memorable, especially for the right reasons. Pay attention to your appearance, including wardrobe and grooming. How do your clients view you? How do your coworkers view you? It's been said one should dress like their boss's boss, or for the position you wish to have. Making your appearance appropriate, professional, and slightly more elevated than your competition will allow for positive associations. Is your office / business space well appointed, minimally distracting, and maximizing business creativity and transactions? And more emotionally and internally, do you demonstrate solid values, ethics, and morale? Plain and simple, you should always look and act the part.
Your mission. Successful organizations have a clearly defined mission statement. Why not make one for yourself? Imagine a marvelous marriage of your personal interests and professional goals. It can be a few words, an inspirational quote, or an action statement. For example, experiencing and understanding different cultures, religions, and ethnicities has always interested me, so a mission statement for my professional business consulting may include "Bringing style + class to the marketplace through compassion, understanding, and authentic investment in our clients." When you decide on your mission statement, place it in a prominent position, use it to guide your professional activities, and reflect on it before making any massive decisions. This will ultimately fuel your "work ethos" and add value to your resume.
Your approach. Define and refine your interactions. Pay attention to word choice; if your company or organization has a marketing department, try and incorporate as much jargon as possible. Presenting messages and communication with uniform wording will intensify your brand's mission, customers' awareness of your company or organization's purpose, and help leverage loyalty. How do you communicate with your customers? Do you use special stationary to write notes of thanks and praise? Do you always arm yourself with business cards, safely kept in a handy holder?
It doesn't matter what goods or services you're selling, where you're conducting business, or who you're working for. What matters most is how you sell those goods and services. In business, building rapport with your clients, identifying and practicing best practices, and leading with passion and integrity will always pay off. And no matter what you do, remember to sprinkle a dash of style + class. Walk with purpose. Speak with competence. Pay attention to your presentation and reception. Those little details mean the most. Tutto é possibile.