BUILDING A PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY 1
Building aProfessional Identity
Having a professional identity is paramount for an individual as itaids them to achieve the highest echelons in their field ofexpertise. However, the identity must be unique and authentic if itis to serve as an individual’s selling point. There are certainpertinent steps to developing a professional identity and theyinclude establishing one’s personal brand and electing a massivecampaign for marketing the same, networking and setting up amechanism for receiving feedback.
The first requisite for developing a professional identity ispersonal branding. Having a brand as a professional ensures that oneis remembered after leaving the company or institution they currentlywork for. For personal branding, the American Institute for CPAs(2012) suggests that an individual puts into consideration the threeCs which include constancy, consistency, and clarity. While brandingoneself, an individual ought to establish the boundary between whothey are and who they are not. Sugarcoating oneself is akin to aprofessional suicide, hence the need to be specific on one’s scopeof expertise. Being a jack of all trades diminishes one’s level ofprofessionalism. Consistency calls for intentional and an ongoingprocess aimed at ensuring that the public understands the valuesencapsulated in one’s brand. As a strategy for personal branding,one should have well-printed business cards that contain all theessentials such as one`s name, the field of expertise, and contacts.
After branding oneself, an expert needs to a have a vibrant strategyfor marketing their established identity. On this note, one needs totake advantage of opportunities available in both online and offlineplatforms. For instance, one needs to have a massive following insocial media. However, while numbers are crucial in the social mediaplatforms, one must scrutinize the individuals they allow in theircircle of online friends. For instance, befriending a person who hasa different set of values such as those promoting vices such asalcoholism and violence negatively impacts one’s professionalidentity.
After electing a vibrant and effective marketing strategy for one’sidentity, one must indulge in networking. Networking entailsconnecting with other professionals to win their endorsement.Additionally, through networking a professional predisposesthemselves to mentors in their field(American Institute of CPAs,2012). While networking is primarily offline, such as throughprograms, workshops and seminars organized by one’s department,organization and government, one should utilize avenues provided bysocial media. For instance, one should seek membership in onlinegroups that are exclusively for individuals in one`s area ofexpertise. Networking allows a professional to gain nuggets of wisdomon the expected change in one`s field. It means that an individualkeeps abreast with emerging issues by joining a professional groupeither online or offline. Besides, through networking, a professionalgets a chance to expand their clientele, for instance throughreferral.
Lastly, building a professional identity is achievable if anindividual has a deliberate and well-established mechanism forreceiving feedback about one`s brand (American Institute of CPAs,2012). A professional should welcome both positive and negativecriticism for personal growth. Similar to a business entity, clientsperceive being valued when their sentiments and suggestions arereceived and implemented. Besides, a professional should developskills for filtering out dishonest feedbacks.
In conclusion, the road towards building a professional identityrequires that an individual undertakes certain deliberate steps. Thejourney begins with an individual identifying a set of values thatthey want to be identified with. Secondly, an individual shouldharvest opportunities available both online and offline to markettheir brand. One often ignored, yet paramount tool for developing aprofessional identity is networking. The journey to building aprofessional identity culminates in an individual having a deliberateand effective strategy for receiving feedback.
American Institute of CPAs. (2012). “Five Tips to BrandingYourself.” Accessed on May 3, 2016.http://www.aicpa.org/interestareas/youngcpanetwork/resources/career/pages/fivetipstobrandingyourself.aspx